Paris, March 5, 2012
The election wasn’t exemplary – that’s the least one can say. And the OSCE is levelling serious criticism. Mr Putin has been re-elected president by a very large majority and so France, like her European partners, is going to pursue her partnership with Russia and with her new president and the government he’s going to establish.
There have been tensions. I note that, during the campaign, there was no brutal crackdown as may have been the case at other times. So I hope the idea that in a democracy you can be challenged, you can be criticized – including in the street, including by demonstrators – will be one that is now also accepted in Russia./.