Swedish Reaction to Russian Election

Following Sunday’s Russian parliamentary elections Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says the world must listen to the concerns of that country’s opposition and civil society.

In a written commentary on the elections, Reinfeldt says they are a signal of the need to continue to follow developments in Russia, not least in questions concerning democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.

Speaking to the TT news agency, Russian expert Kristian Gerner is less diplomatic. A professor of History at the University of Lund, Gerner says the elections, in which President Vladimir Putin’s party received just under 64 percent of the vote, were clearly rigged. Gerner says he is concerned that Putin has changed the party structure, controls the media, and detained members of the opposition.

His comments are echoed by Birgitta Ohlsson, foreign policy spokesperson for the Liberal Party, which is part of Sweden’s ruling center-right coalition. She says the dirty election campaign has unfortunately turned Russia into a pretend democracy.

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