WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement regarding Russia:
“Yesterday was a sad day for democracy in Russia. Two days after President Medvedev expressed strong support for political competition in Russia, Russian authorities demonstrated the emptiness of these words by refusing to register the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS) and barring its participation in the upcoming Duma elections. We join Secretary Clinton, European parliamentarians, and others around the world in expressing our strong disapproval of this decision.
“The refusal to register PARNAS is clearly inconsistent with the international obligations of the Russian government—including as an OSCE participating State—to safeguard political pluralism and hold free, fair, and inclusive elections that meet international standards. Yesterday’s decision calls into question the legitimacy and credibility of the upcoming Duma elections and fits into a broader and deeply troubling pattern of diminishing political freedom in the Russian Federation. We welcome today’s reports that this decision may be reconsidered and urge the Government of Russia to uphold its international obligations. Furthermore, Russian TV – the only media reaching the vast majority of potential voters – must reflect more than the opinions of those in power. Otherwise citizens are denied their rightful participation in the reality and future of their own country. We stand in strong support of those in Russia seeking to exercise universally recognized freedoms.”