Russia says US criticism of vote 'unacceptable'

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Dec. 6, 2011, 7:58 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Reuters

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite shake hands prior to the 18th OSCE Ministerial Council in the Exhibition centre LITEXPO in Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
© AP


MOSCOW, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Russia dismissed U.S. criticism of its parliamentary election as unacceptable on Tuesday and urged its former Cold War enemy to refrain from such "hostile attacks" in future. Washington said it was seriously concerned by the conduct of Sunday's election, in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party suffered a decline in support but won a slim majority in the lower house.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has been seeking to consolidate improvements in the sometimes strained relationship with Russia, suggested earlier on Tuesday the vote was neither free nor fair.

Thousands of Russians protested in Moscow against the alleged vote-rigging on Monday and demanded an end to Putin's rule. A few hundred stages similar protests on Tuesday.

"Regrettably, Washington sticks to outdated stereotypes and labels without even attempting to understand what is happening in our electorate," the Foreign Ministry statement said, describing comments by the White House, Clinton and the State Department as "unacceptable".

Clinton, who has repeatedly praised the results of the so-called reset in relations with Russia, said she was concerned by what she said were stuffed ballot boxes and manipulated voter lists in the Russian vote.

"We hope that in the future the U.S. side will refrain from such hostile attacks that run counter to the overall positive development of our bilateral relations," the Foreign Ministry said.

Despite the "reset", the two sides are at odds over several issue, including U.S. plans to set up an anti-ballistic missile shield which it says would to defend Europe against potential threats from states such as Iran.
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