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Chechen elections

I’ve held back from commenting on yesterday’s Chechen parliamentary elections, mainly because I’m pretty sure they’ll be… how can I put this?… unrepresentative. For anyone who hasn’t already worked out the lie of the land – pro-Kremlin party United Russia currently leads the way with a (clearly representative) 60% of the vote, from a 66% turnout.

The Russian government’s verdict is that the election was quite clearly a success.

“The elections to the parliament of the Chechen republic being held today are smoother than ever. The voting process has been organized properly,” [Federation Council Deputy Speaker Alexander] Torshin said.

On the other hand, this quote from the European Union pretty much encapsulates the way the rest of the world feels about this election – we all know it’s corrupt, but don’t think Chechnya is worth upsetting Russia over, so will find something blandly concilliatory to say:

“We welcome the fact that the elections took place without violence and we hope it will be a step toward a peaceful political process in the future,” said Emma Udwin, spokeswoman on external affairs at the EU’s executive body.

“That’s what we want to see,” she added.

“There hasn’t been much information on the way this election was conducted,” Udwin said, adding that neither the EU nor Europe’s OSCE security organization had sent monitors to the conflict-torn Caucasus region.

She is right, though, when she says the elections were peaceful. Which is progress of a sort.

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