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19 January 2021, 16:10

Russian parliament speaker: No democratic standards in the United States

Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. TASS photo
Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. TASS photo

MOSCOW, 19 January (BelTA) - Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin urged to do everything possible to prevent foreign interference in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Russia in the autumn as he opened the Parliament session on 19 January, BelTA has learned.

“It is important for us that they [elections to the State Duma] are transparent, competitive and legitimate, in strict accordance with national legislation. At the same time, we must do everything to prevent foreign interference in our election campaign. Based on the past elections and the current situation, we understand that they will continue to interfere. These processes are spearheaded by the United States of America and its NATO allies," Vyacheslav Volodin said.

“If yesterday they intervened in election campaigns in our country and other countries under the guise of promoting high democracy standards based on their own experience, today it has become clear to all that the United States of America does not have these standards itself. Their electoral system is archaic. It is not transparent and beyond the control of society. They do not allow a single and effective institution of international election observers. We have highlighted it many times. Voting by mail does not stand up to any criticism. Postal voting is non-transparent. It is impossible to verify who used these ballots and when.”

Vyacheslav Volodin cited the following data: 65 million voted by mail in the U.S. election. This is 40.6% of those who took part in the voting. As many as 35 million voters came to the polls during the early voting period that ranges from 4 to 45 days depending on a state. “As far as these 62% of voters are concerned, the voting procedure was not transparent,” he noted. “This falls short of the rules established in democratic countries and the requirements that we have defined as a standard. The state with such a non-transparent electoral process has no right to tell other countries what to do, let alone interfere in their election campaigns. This state allowed degradation of its own party and political system, which encroached on the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. Therefore, such a state should not speak with us in a patronizing tone,” he said.

According to the State Duma speaker, the current situation in the United States resulted from a deep internal split in the American society, based on enmity unleashed throughout the country. “For many years, the U.S. political elite pitted Americans against each other on the basis of race, religion, gender, political preferences,” he said.

The use of these tools by one political force could not but lead to the radicalization of the supporters of the other, in this case, supporters of the outgoing president. “We have always been against this,” Vyacheslav Volodin stressed. “We believe it to be unacceptable. The struggle for power between the two leading parties in the United States resulted in the storming of the parliament building and loss of life. We have always, and I would like to emphasize this today, opposed violent and unconstitutional actions. The United States, on the contrary, encouraged and supported these processes in many countries by interfering in their sovereign affairs: in Europe, in the post-Soviet space, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America. Washington has always called participants of unauthorized political actions everywhere as fighters for freedom and democracy. When the same thing happened in the United States, they called these people domestic terrorists who are now facing 15 to 20 years in prison. These people will be true political prisoners. Let us call a spade a spade. Washington will have to admit: either this is a double standard policy, or persecution for political views. It has become obvious to everyone today that the country that lectures the whole world on democracy has itself abandoned it,” Vyacheslav Volodin said.

The State Duma speaker added that the incumbent president of the United States and 75 million of his supporters were deprived of the fundamental right, freedom of speech, with their access to the largest social networks blocked. “Whose decision was it? Perhaps, a court order?” Vyacheslav Volodin asked. “Usually, such things are ruled by court. In this case the decision was pushed through by the political opponents of the outgoing president,” Vyacheslav Volodin said. "This is nothing else but a direct violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens. The USA has violated its international obligations related to free exchange of and access to information. We are against curtailing the freedom of speech. However, in the end, it is their domestic affair. One could say ‘whatever', let them do what they want – but it is not that simple. U.S. information platforms and IT companies have a global, international reach, almost a monopoly. If they act in such a brazen way in their own country, we can imagine what they can do in respect of other countries, especially taking into account the idea of American exceptionalism they champion. Their arrogance is no longer assumed. It is blatantly obvious,” he said.

“It is obvious that the international organizations should issue their assessments of the recent events,” Vyacheslav Volodin stressed. “Their silence demonstrates not only their weakness, but also double standards. The European Parliament is also keeping silence, although it was quick to put out statements regarding Russia, the situation in Ukraine, Venezuela, Belarus, and Hong Kong – the list goes on,” he added.

Vyacheslav Volodin also called on the EU to stop using rubber bullets against their people, poisoning them with gas, pouring water on them in winter. “These measures resemble the tortures during World War II,” he noted. “Just sort out the problems with human rights in your countries first, if you want someone to listen to you, if you want to maintain international order and stability,” Vyacheslav Volodin added.

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