Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s statement on Russian elections on Sunday
On 18 March 2018, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin was re-elected. Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets that the ongoing process cannot be considered as free and democratic elections. The electoral machinery was strictly controlled, while the process and its outcome were predetermined and known in advance.
The decision taken by the Central Election Commission to ban the main government critic Alexey Navalny from running for president (was based on politically motivated charges and ignored the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights) has significantly restricted the choice of citizens. Repressive action against opposition activists and non-governmental organizations continued to strengthen until the election day. Russia also aimed at hindering election observation activities. Two independent European election observation organizations were included on the list of unwanted organizations right before the election. Reports about the use of administrative resources, as well as the use of pressure by local authorities, budget institutions or state-owned enterprises came in from many Russian regions.
Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry believes that by organizing the presidential election on the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, Russia has once again expressed disdain for the principles of international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Lithuania strongly condemns the actions of the Russian Federation, considers the elections in Russian-annexed Crimea illegal, and does not recognize its results.