Crimea may be monitored by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) during the presidential election in 2018, Izvestia says. When asked about the upcoming visit by international observers to Russia, a source in the organization did not rule out that its representatives might visit the peninsula, adding though only if the mission deems it necessary based on assessments, the publication writes. Representatives are expected to arrive in Russia in December, the source said, as international experts plan to study “the political context and select the best observation format” for the upcoming presidential vote in March 2018.” “The mission will outline its recommendations and draft a plan to assign observers to Russia. Only those regions where observation is to be specified, will be covered. Until the plan is drafted, it is unknown where our observers will go,” a source in the OSСE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights said.

A source in Russia’s Central Electoral Commission explained to Izvestia that OSCE’s interest in the peninsula stems from its desire “to dig up as many violations as possible. “In the West’s anti-Russia campaigns, this will be used as an allegation that Russia’s elections are not legitimate. And most probably any decision by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights regarding Crimea will be negative, since Europe so far has not acknowledged Crimea as Russian territory. In any case, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights does not shape the future of elections, and their visit will not affect the legitimacy of the elections,” the Central Electoral Commission highlighted, adding that Crimea will not be left without international observation either.

Jaroslav Golik, a member of the Czech parliament, told the newspaper that he had already received an invitation to Russia’s 2018 presidential election. “Obviously, I am ready to go to any region in Russia, including Crimea. I should admit that it is of a special interest for me, and I have visited the peninsula several times for various goals after 2014,” he pointed out. “If the OSCE decides to send observers to Crimea there will be a meeting and it would be an important step by the West towards bettering relations with Russia. The more western representatives visit Crimea, the less slander will be spread globally,” the politician added. However, Director of the Institute of the Newest States Alexey Martynov doubts that relations between Russia and the West will improve soon. “It will be a serious reference point to stop senseless talk about whether Crimea is ours or not. Crimea is Russia, and assuming this, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights will make a decision. Their observers will arrive if they concur with Russian legislation,” he noted.

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