In just 5 days, March 18th, The 2018 Russian presidential election takes place and a Norwegian organization, ‘People’s Diplomacy – Norway’, (PDN) intends to enter Crimea as election ‘observers’.
However, Norway’s state department has decried PDN, stating that although the Russian Duma has authorized the entry of the Norwegian group into the Crimea, the Norwegian government does not endorse nor condone the activist group or its intent to ‘observe’.
VIOLATION OF LAW
Norway’s Secretary of State Audun Halvorsen (H) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given official reaction of thoroughly disapproving PDN’s unsanctioned actions, in any capacity, within the Crimea.
Speaking upon the issue, Secretary Havorsen gave formal statement: ‘Let our position be perfectly clear: Norway views Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a violation of international law. We strongly disavow any (supposed) Norwegian participation within Crimea’s federal election.’
In December, 2017, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions & Human Rights (OSCE) stated that it would send international observers to monitor Russia’s federal elections but that it would not observe voting within Crimea without OSCE member consensus.
PDN’s Hendrik Weber confirmed that he and another PDN member have been invited to act as observers by the Russian National Assembly; the Duma. Speaking to VG, Weber states: ‘Our being asked to observe the Crimea elections was quite accidental. We spoke of the potential to act as observers with local politicians when we visited the Crimea late 2017.
The initiative originated from the Duma but final accreditation was issued from the (Russian) Nomination Committee after our official application petitioning for participation as observers. Only the OSCE and ourselves will be allowed to observe the election process within the Crimea.’
CRIMEA ‘NOT DANGEROUS’
PDN’s Weber has stated that PDN would strive to communicate to the outside world that the Crimea is not a dangerous, occupied territory and also that Crimea’s residents have no intention of returning to governance under Kiev. Weber also has stated that Crimea joining Russia was the will of the peninsula’s residents.
In March 2014, Crimea joined Russia after 97% of residents supported the act with a regional referendum. The reunification has not been recognized by a majority of countries, including the EU. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Crimea conducted the referendum in compliance with international law.
The Russian presidential election will be held on March 18 and will be the first federal election held within Crimea after its joining with Russia in 2014.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today