Despite numerous concerns over advantages enjoyed by Russia’s ruling party, independent observers said the voters were able to overcome clear biases in elections for the State Duma.

Voters cast their votes in favor of the ruling party, Russia United. Seven parties ran.

This result shows that voting can make a real difference in Russia, even when the playing field is slanted in favor of one party. However, any election needs an impartial referee – and until now, it has not had one. This needs to change.”

Yesterday, Russia showed that it is technically able to organize fair elections – now it is up to the parties to use this opening for real politics and make it a reality,” said Tiny Kox, Head of the delegation of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said Monday that the “election administration lacked independence and that most media were partial and state authorities interfered unduly at different levels.”

However OSCE noted that the legal framework “had been improved in some respects and televised debates for all parties provided one level platform for contestants.”

“Yesterday’s elections proved that the Russian people can form the future of this country by expressing their will despite many obstacles,” said Petros Efthymiou, the Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission and Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation.

“I particularly noticed the interference of the state in all levels of political life, the lack of necessary conditions for a fair competition and no independence of the media.”

Overall voting was well organized on Election Day. But during the count, Efthymiou said that frequent “procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulations” occurred, including capacity filling of ballot boxes.