U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the U.S. is greatly concerned about how Russia is conducting its parliamentary elections.
Although preliminary election results showed that support of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party has weakened substantially, some election monitors have reported violations of election rules favoring Putin's party, including problems with vote-counting and ballot-stuffing.
According to Voice of America, with 96 percent of the vote counted as of Monday, United Russia "looked set to win 238 seats in the 450-seat State Duma, or lower house, down sharply from the 315 seats it had secured in 2007 elections."
Clinton said that the claims of voter fraud brought forth by the election monitors were backed by international observers, and that they are raising questions about the fraudulent practices going on behind the scenes during the electoral process. In addition, she said that the U.S. is also concerned that the internal Russian election monitors are being harassed with attacks on their websites.
"Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all credible reports of electoral fraud and manipulation and we hope in particular that then Russian authorities will take action," Clinton said, according to the AP. “The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. That means they deserve free, fair, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them."
However, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev denied that any wrongdoing took place, saying the elections were fair and democratic.
"United Russia gained exactly what it has, no more and no less than that. In that sense, they were absolutely honest and fair and democratic elections,'' he said, according to Voice of America.
Other parties that made significant strides in the preliminary election include the Communists, Liberal Democrats, and a social democratic party called Just Russia. The Communist Party filled 92 seats with Just Russia achieving 64 and the Liberal Democrats following with 56.