By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - Britain on Monday said the weekend’s parliamentary elections in Russia “represent a serious step back for democratic freedoms,” in the country.
A statement from a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesman said that many election practices in Russia “are at odds” with the international commitments.
“The measures taken by the Russian authorities to marginalise civil society, silence independent media and exclude genuine opposition candidates from participating in the elections undermine political plurality and are at odds with the international commitments that Russia has signed up to,” it said.
The statement expressed disappointment by the “undue limitations Russia has placed on election monitoring, including by international observers – a key element of democratic scrutiny.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party has won a parliamentary majority as two-thirds of the 450 seats at the Duma, the Russian parliament, goes to his party.
British statement also said that they “condemn the holding of these elections on Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and reiterate that the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 was illegal and illegitimate, and remains so to this day.”