Russia "disappointed" by Belarus election criticism

(MINSK) - Moscow is "disappointed" by international criticism of Belarus' recently-held elections, the Russian foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The Organization for the Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitored the Belarussian poll, said Monday the elections were unfair and undemocratic.

The OSCE's judgement "can only arouse disappointment after mission observers ...decided the elections were not completely free and democratic," the Russian ministry said in a statement.

"In Moscow, we feel the elections were a display of civic responsibility but also showed the interest of the Belarussian people for continuity and stability," the statement continued.

The OSCE said the vote fell below international standards, despite noting some "improvements" from previous elections.

Loyalists of autocratic Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko won every seat in Sunday's parliamentary polls that were also widely condemned by the US government and Western observers.

Full results of Sunday's legislative elections indicated all 110 lower house seats in the former Soviet state would go to allies of Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the United States.

This poll was seen a test of democratic progress in the former Soviet state, traditionally a staunch ally of Moscow that in recent years has looked to improve its relations with the European Union.



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