Russia accused Europe's main election watchdog of trying to sabotage plans for monitoring its presidential election next month, the latest round of an increasingly bitter dispute with the West over democracy. Russia said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's monitoring body, ODIHR, was trying to politicise monitoring of the March 2 election.
Russia announced on Monday it will not issue new entry visas to staff working in the British government's cultural offices in two regions, sharpening a row that has soured already-poor relations. Russia ordered the British Council to halt work at the two regional offices from January 1 in a move both sides have linked to a diplomatic feud.
International observers declared on Monday that Russia's parliamentary elections failed to meet widely accepted democratic standards, saying President Vladimir Putin and his government abused their power to favour the dominant Kremlin-backed party while opposition forces were harassed.
A bomb on a bus in the Russian car-making city of Togliatti killed at least eight people and injured 50 on Wednesday in what authorities called a terrorist attack. The blast, which came as people travelled to work in the early-morning rush hour, was probably caused by a bomb hidden under the floor of the bus, police sources said.