In a trend remarkably similar to its reduction of NGOs in October of last year, Russia has decided to further reduce the number of foreign monitors for its upcoming parliamentary elections in December. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors elections in many post-Soviet countries, was lately informed by Russian authorities of the change. While OSCE previously was invited to send 400 monitors to elections in 2003, they may now only send 70. This is quite the decrease in a country and a region where elections have been marred by corruption.
Despite electoral predictions that United Russia, Putin’s cult-of-personality-political-party, will win more seats to complement their majority already, the monitoring is essential to show emerging political trends in the country. The attempt of the opposition to gain seats is important to demonstrate that Russia’s citizens still wish to have a voice in their ever-growing-authoritative-quasi-democracy. Russians must be vigilant for future trends the Kremlin will show. This is already evident in reports that Putin might seek to hold some official position after his required departure from the Presidency, similar to Lukashenko of neighboring Belarus, who altered its Constitution to win a third term.