The largest regional security organization in the world, OSCE published a report on its website on Monday that condemned the lack of "meaningful debate and genuine pluralism".

"The election process failed to meet an important commitment concerning treatment by the state-controlled media, in particular television on a non-discriminatory basis."

OSCE criticism came after the International Election Observation Mission filed its observations taken from over 340 people from 39 countries.

Specific criticism

Julian Yates, Head of the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, conceded the election process was generally well managed.

However "the nature of the election process, in which the incumbent president largely refrained from conventional campaigning … have meant that this election cannot be seen as a fundamental test of the Russian democratic system."

Rudolf Bindig, Head of Delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said: "A cause of concern was the practice of open voting and the lack of reaction to it by election officials."

"The election process failed to meet an important commitment concerning treatment by the state-controlled media, in particular television on a non-discriminatory basis"

OSCE statement

Bindig added that significant efforts had been made towards encouraging voter turnout and to enfranchising as many people as possible.
 
But instances of misuse of official positions and even cases of intimidation, were a regrettable aspect to an otherwise commendable effort.

Media bias

Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the OSCE, added that the state-controlled media displayed "clear bias in favour of the incumbent in news presentation and coverage of the campaign."

He also noted the failure of authorities to take adequate remedial action to deal with unfair favourable spin and air time given to President Putin.

"This demonstrates the need to transform state controlled media into independent public media, as ODIHR and the Council of Europe have already recommended on more than one occasion."