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Russian Federation

Volume 543: debated on Tuesday 17 April 2012

5. What reports he has received on the conduct of recent presidential elections in the Russian Federation. (102855)

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, while giving a positive overall assessment of voting on election day, identified problems with unequal campaign conditions and serious limitations on voter choice.

I am grateful to the Minister for his answer. Does he know whether the Prime Minister raised the issue of electoral irregularities with President Putin when he called to congratulate him on his election victory?

We raise with Russian leaders and Russian officials, at every opportunity, our concerns about human rights in their country, and we have certainly raised with the Government of Russia our concerns about how the presidential elections, and indeed last year’s parliamentary elections, were conducted.

Following the results of the Russian elections, does my right hon. Friend anticipate any change in Russian policy towards the oil and gas producing countries of the South Caucasus? What can the British Government do to further broaden and deepen our relationships with those countries?

We continue to press for reconciliation between Russia and Georgia following the conflict between those two countries, but we are firm in our belief that that has to be achieved in a way that recognises Georgia’s territorial integrity.

17. The Minister mentioned the OSCE report. It also said that irregularities occurred in up to a third of the polling stations in the Russian Federation. What representations have the Government made to the European Union for it, in turn, to put pressure on Russia to address the situation? (102868)

I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that he needs to acknowledge that there are limits to the leverage that the UK alone and the EU collectively have with Russia. However, we always ensure, both bilaterally and in European conversations, that the central importance of human rights and respect for democratic processes is brought home to our Russian interlocutors.