Don’t get us wrong, these are good folks. When we saw that journalist Tina Kandelaki was on the panel it was a good sign. Tina is as independent as a Russian journalist of her high caliber can be, and therein lies a possible problem. The leaders of the “clean elections” observers have been handpicked by the government as opposed to the truly independent election monitors who will be under siege the rest of this weekend.
At this morning’s press conference on clean elections three persons of good reputation were introduced: The leader of the corps of observers “for clean elections” Dennis Panshin, TV Journalist Tina Kandelaki and Boris Nadezhdin a member of the public housing board.
The group of approved election observers are to be led by a government appointee, a journalist and an elected politician. We have nothing against the character of the persons chosen, and in fact in full disclosure should reveal that one is a fellow journalist and social media friend. But the selection process leaves us with the feeling that Russia still has a ways to go in convincing her citizens that the monitoring of elections is itself a truly independent process.