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Feature Story November 30, 2007
 
Who Killed The OSCE?
Ex-OSCE Mission Chief Reveals “Pressure” To Whitewash ‘96 Election By Alexander Zaitchik and Mark Ames Browse author
 
Page 5 of 5
 

East-West tensions within the OSCE have been building for years. Now Russia and most other CIS countries have had enough of the democracy lecturing and want to shift the focus back to hard security matters. The OSCE is, after all, the one pan-European forum where they are, in theory, full and equal members.

Behind the headlines of the OSCE-Moscow spat, a larger showdown will take place at the end of the month in Madrid, at the OSCE's annual end of the year meeting. There, a new group of OSCE nations, led by Russia, will try to redirect the future of the organization.

Writing in the Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vladimir Socor describes the goal of the new grouping:

"The Russia-led bloc calls for refocusing the OSCE on the military-political dimension... This move continues Moscow's long-standing attempts to endow the OSCE with functions that could duplicate or interfere with those of NATO and maintain a Russian-influenced grey area in Europe's East. The novel elements are the bloc basis and extended scope of the proposals. Russia hopes to build up the OSCE into an all-European security body and counterpose it to NATO, particularly in Europe's East. This is why most Western countries have long resisted turning the OSCE into a full-fledged organization."

The Russia-led group is also proposing new rules for the monitoring of elections. It wants to weaken what it sees as the western grip on ODIHR, slow the response time for issuing election reports, and spread monitoring missions more evenly across the OSCE's turf—which famously spans "from Vancouver to Vladivostok." By all accounts the Russia-led bloc means business and is willing to obstruct the organization's work until a serious reform plan is on the table.

What all this means is that the OSCE's judgment on this weekend's elections is irrelevant. And so is the OSCE as we have come to know it.


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