No evidence given. International criticism of some aspects of the referendum on Constitutional amendments was not due to alleged “Russophobia” but to its problematic aspects, such as Article 79, which stipulates that “decisions of interstate bodies” shall not be “subject to enforcement in the Russian Federation” if they run counter to the Constitution. This means, for example, that Russia won’t feel obliged to comply with binding rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Other elements, such as its definition of marriage as the union of man and woman, have been strongly criticised by LGBT activists and human rights defenders. One of the most controversial amendments, removing term limits for president Vladimir Putin to remain in power beyond his original mandate, was also condemned by Russian pro-democracy and opposition activists.
The European Union regretted that, in the run up to this vote, campaigning both for and against was not allowed, thereby denying voters access to balanced information.