European election observers have begun monitoring Russia’s presidential campaign. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said it would not be afraid to highlight any shortcomings but it is not in favour of installing webcams at polling stations, as suggested by Vladimir Putin.
The head of the OECD’s Russia mission, Heidi Tagliavini, said: “A webcam actually fixes what you can see really. But what is interesting is what is not captured, it is the count, the completion of the protocols and how the results are passed up to the next higher level.”
But the observers’ presence alone is not enough for opposition protesters who plan to continue their campaign against the result of last month’s parliamentary elections. They are planning another demonstration on February 4, which is expected to be the biggest yet.
“It’s a unique chance for us to show how united we are and our strength and depth. It’s the most constructive way to have our demands met,” said opposition Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov.
Supporters of Vladimir Putin are also planning to hold a rally on the same day, potentially bringing tens of thousands of people out on to the streets.
Our Moscow correspondent, Alexander Shashkov says the organisers of that demonstration hope it will be even bigger than the last and it is scheduled to go ahead whatever the weather.