Russia is compelled to refuse to send its observers to Ukraine's presidential elections over fears for their safety, the press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.
"These discriminatory steps of the Ukrainian authorities prevent Russian experts from taking part in the ODIHR observation mission. Against this background, Russia is forced to refuse to send its observers to Ukraine in order not to subject them to a threat of certain prosecution," the ministry said. The foreign service is convinced that judging by what is happening in that country, Kiev has something to hide from the international community.
"In the current situation, Russia has enough reasons to recognize the elections as illegitimate," expert with the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies Vladimir Bruter said in an interview with the Inforos portal. "However, it entirely depends on how they are held. If the numerous violations are found, this will be the very reason why Russian observers have not been allowed to participate in the election. But even without them there will be enough data to assess and understand the situation."
The released provisional report of the ODIHR monitoring mission recorded numerous complaints about the course of the Ukrainian election campaign. These include vote buying, exploitation of administrative resources, criminal prosecution of presidential candidates, involvement of the Central Election Commission and the legal authorities, problems with voter registration, inconsistencies in the work of territorial election commissions, etc.
Back in early February, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that he, being the supreme commander-in-chief, will order the Border Service of Ukraine to prevent Russian citizens who intend to monitor the election as part of the OSCE mission from entering the country. A bill was introduced to the Verkhovna Rada, according to which the citizens of the Russian Federation, as representatives of the aggressor and occupier state, are prohibited to attend presidential elections in Ukraine as observers. In late February Poroshenko signed the decree, giving it the go-ahead.
On March 4, Ukraine announced its intention to deny access of observers from the German party The Left to the election. The reason is that "the political force acts from pro-Russian positions in Europe." The Left has repeatedly criticized the Kiev regime for its all-out undemocratic character, e.g. the praise of a far-right ideology, glorification of Bandera and neo-Nazism.
It is worth noting that Germany has always been an advocate of democratic values, including fair and legitimate elections as their integral. Berlin believes that the more observers attend the vote, the less likely elections will be held improperly and with falsified results. The country does not exclude the imposition of sanctions for violating this rule. Kiev certainly does not need observers with this kind of views.
On March 7, Ukrainian news agencies reported that the country will refuse entry to observers from 13 countries: Russia, Germany, France, Sweden, Israel, USA, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Finland, Serbia, Norway and the UK. Kiev explained its decision by the fact that those on the list have tarnished themselves by assuming the role of observers when the President of Russia was elected in the Crimea. It is for sure that such measures on the part of Ukraine can lower the election legitimacy level.
"Of course, Kiev's decisions afford ground for declaring the election invalid," Deputy Director of the CIS Institute Vladimir Zharikhin said in an interview with the Inforos portal. "In general, validation or invalidation certainly requires reasons that do already exist. They concern both the non-admission of observers and the course of the election campaign as a whole."
By refusing access to foreign observers, Kiev authorities brazenly violate international commitments and yet again demonstrate disregard for the norms of international law. The results of the upcoming vote are very likely to be falsified, and therefore the non-admission of Russian representatives as part of the observation mission is just another confirmation of this fact.