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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 16:48 GMT
Russia lambasts 'biased monitors'
Russia's election chief Vladimir Churov holds an official election poster. File photo
Mr Churov said up to 300 observers would be at the polls
Russia's chief election manager has accused foreign observers of bias ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

"Some international observers come to Russia with ready-made conclusions and opinions which have nothing in common with reality," Vladimir Churov said.

He was speaking after monitors from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly said their findings about the fairness of the polls would be tough.

They are the only Western observer mission for the Russian polls.

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe - the continent's main election watchdog - said it would boycott the polls because of Moscow-imposed restrictions.

The OSCE had been arguing with Russia over the size and scope of the observers' mission.

Russia's foreign ministry has called the monitors' decision "unacceptable".

President Vladimir Putin is barred by Russia's constitution from running for a third consecutive term.

First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, whom Mr Putin has named as his favoured successor, is widely expected to win.

Critics both in Russia and abroad have said the Kremlin's dominance of media outlets and the use of government resources to back Mr Medvedev have left the election campaign one-sided - a claim denied by Moscow.

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