Russia’s decision to list the European Platform for Democratic Elections and the International Election Study Centre as “undesirable organisations” further reduces the space for civil society and restricts the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia, just ahead of the March 18 presidential elections. So said a statement issued by the spokesperson of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

Maja Kocijancic also said: “These organisations support or conduct citizens’ election observation in the Eastern Partnership countries, the Russian Federation and the European Union. Such independent observation is a necessary element for free, transparent and credible elections.”

He stressed that their listing means all their activities and information material are from now on banned in Russia. “These restrictions should be removed and the Russian authorities need to ensure that civil society organisations are able to contribute fully to Russia’s development.”