Who would have thought that the Russian elections is a way to improve the financial situation not only of the domestic political strategists, but also of many foreign unemployed, retirees, secretaries and sales agents?
In many ways, these are the people who formed the corps of the observers from the OSCE ODIHR at the parliamentary elections held in Russia on December 4.
It was always a mystery who and how forms foreign observers who work at the Russian elections. It turned out that neither the OSCE ODIHR, nor any other international organizations regulate this issue. The list of observers includes relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, secretaries, and personal assistants. The money and per diem are pretty good, and a trip to Russia for free is another added bonus.
"Pravda.Ru" received a list of observers from the OSCE ODIHR with many different names on it. Mechthild Herkenhoff is a school social worker from Germany, Francesco Marchezano from Italy (23 years old) is generally not working and never in his life participated in any elections. Maritza Cecilia Tollemark Fortes from Sweden is a secretary, and Jonathan Browning of Great Britain is unemployed. Similar names comprise the entire list, with occasional splashes of the names of high-ranking officials form the Foreign Ministries, mainly Kazakh.
It is quite possible and even most likely that all the observers sent by the OSCE are good people and good citizens. They most likely participate in the life of their communities, they are parishioners of local churches, they take care of flower beds and raise their children and grandchildren.
Yet, what they have to do with such a serious political process as elections remains a mystery. After all, election is a complex of organizational and legal procedures that the observer needs to know very well. There are great doubts that the 23-year-old unemployed Italian citizen can distinguish with confidence Bashkortostan where he worked from Tatarstan, and those two republics from Kazakhstan, and the "United Russia" - from "Fair Russia."
In addition, this list lowers the credibility of all the findings that the OSCE and other structures made and may make following the results of the Russian elections.
Alexey Navalny returned to Russia on January 17. He was detained upon arrival at the Sheremetyevo Airport. A court arrested Navalny for 30 days