EO-2011-Oliver-Efthymiou-Golos MoscowSpencer Oliver, Petros Efthymiou and Grigory Melkoniants, Regional Network Manager of GOLOS.MOSCOW, 1 December 2011 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Petros Efthymiou, appointed by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, to lead the short-term observers for the Russian elections on 4 December, arrived in Moscow with the team of experts on Monday as final preparations for the 2011 Election Observation Mission were being made.

Nearly 100 OSCE parliamentarians, joined by approximately 50 parliamentarians from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Nordic Council, will be deployed later this week to several areas of Russia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhnij Novgorod, Rostov on Don, Vladivostock, Irkutsk, Yaroslavl, and Yekaterinburg.

Several members of the OSCE PA Bureau will share the leadership of the OSCE PA observer team, including Vice-President Riccardo Migliori (Italy); Matteo Mecacci (Italy) and Coskun Coruz (Netherlands), Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the PA's human rights committee; and Tony Lloyd (United Kingdom), Rapporteur of the PA's economic and environmental committee, as well as Michel Voisin (France), Special Representative on Afghanistan, and Kathleen Ferrier (Netherlands), Special Representative on Migration.

Efthymiou held several meetings in Moscow prior to the arrival of the main delegation, and was briefed by Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, leader of the OSCE long-term observers, and her core team. He also met with Grigory Melkoniants, Regional Network Manager of GOLOS, the leading domestic election observer organization, as well as with representatives of the diplomatic corps and journalists. In addition, President Efthymiou spoke at a meeting of the OSCE long-term observers and met with the Chairman of the Moscow Central Election Commission on 30 November. He will also speak at the meeting of short-term observers before opening the briefings for the OSCE PA observers on 1 December.

The OSCE PA briefings will include representatives of the main political parties competing in the elections; representatives of the media, NGOs and civil society; and representatives of civil society groups denied registration as political parties. The main briefing by the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission will include an overview of the campaign period, including comments from long-term observers, activities of political parties and candidates as well as reports on the legal framework in election administration. It will also include reports on the media monitoring undertaken in recent weeks.

The Ambassador of Greece to Russia will host a reception for the OSCE PA observers on 2 December. At a press conference on the afternoon of Monday, 5 December, President Efthymiou will deliver the agreed preliminary post-election statement on behalf of the OSCE along with other appropriate officials.