Interview of H.E. Mr. Dmitry Tsvetkov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Cambodia, on the topic of the upcoming Russian Presidential elections on Sunday.
Q: Could you please tell us about preparations for the elections of the President of the Russian Federation?
A: We consider preparation to this event as our priority. Obviously, this is one of the most important all-national milestones, which, by the way, complies with real understanding and principles of a democratic political system. It is about equal, direct and secret universal ballot as well as absolute transparency and public control over the results.
According to all these criteria the Russian legislation in the field of elections, which was seriously improved during the recent years, complies fully with the international legal standards. We have all conditions for fair competition and free expression of the will of electors – there are eight candidates in the list representing parliamentary parties as well as other political forces.
Q: How will the voting be organised for Russian citizens in the Kingdom?
A: According to the 2003 Federal Law on Elections of the President of the Russian Federation the precinct electoral commission and the polling station were formed in the Russian Embassy here. On 18 March it will host the voting of the Russian citizens living in Cambodia or visiting it for tourism or other purposes. The early voting we already carried out on 15 March at the territory of the former Russian Consulate General in Sihanoukville.
Q: How many persons do you estimate as potential electors in this country now?
A: There are 520 persons on the consular register. At the same time, according to our data, the majority of the Russians – around two thousand – are living in the biggest sea resort of Cambodia – Sihanoukville. Many of them are tourists. That’s why for convenience of our citizens it was decided to hold early voting in that city.
Q: How did you inform the Russian compatriots about the upcoming voting?
A: We payed a great deal of attention to this area of activity, taking into consideration the absence of accredited representatives of the Russian mass media.
Under the current circumstances we relied only on our own resources and contacts. First of all, we used the website of the Embassy and its Twitter and Facebook accounts. By our request the information was also published in the electronic media of our compatriots, particularly on the forum Barang.ru. The “elector’s corner” was opened in the consular section and invitations to participate in the voting were disseminated.
Along with that, we maintained the information stands at the premises of the diplomatic mission as well as the advertising construction in the center of Phnom Penh in coordination with local authorities.
We also interact with local mass media on this issue. Hope TASS and other leading Russian media will open their representative offices here soon.
Likewise, a number of meetings with compatriots were held in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, in order to provide necessary clarifications on the topic of voting and other organisational issues.
During preparation to the elections we maintain close contacts with the Coordination Council of Compatriots and Russian Chamber of Commerce in Sihanoukville. Additional information about the voting was disseminated in some hotels, where Russian tourists are used to stay. Free transfer to and from the polling station was organised for them at the early voting date.
Q: What security measures were taken by the diplomatic mission to ensure the voting here?
A: As the main voting will take place at the territory of the Russian Embassy, security issues will be addressed considering the restricted character of the premises (respective measures were also taken at the building of the former Consulate General in Sihanoukville). For the sake of electors’ convenience we take necessary steps to organise swift access to the polling station for them. Cambodian law enforcement agencies expressed their understanding for our event and reinforced security of the above-mentioned places.
Q: Would you like to wish something to the Russian citizens in Cambodia before the election?
A: We are now far away from the Fatherland, but I think that we still try to follow what is happening there, to listen to the rhythm of its life. The upcoming elections is a unique opportunity to make a direct contribution to the determination of the future way of our country’s development and every single vote matters, of course. That’s why I would like to invite once more all Russian citizens living in Cambodia to participate actively in the forthcoming voting.