Europe has joined the United States in urging Russia to probe growing complaints of undemocratic practices in the landslide elections victory of President Vladimir Putin's political party.
With nearly all votes counted, Mr. Putin's United Russia party has won more than 64 percent of Sunday's parliamentary vote. The communists were running a distant second with nearly 12 percent, while two other pro-Kremlin parties, the Liberal Democratic party and Fair Russia held seven and eight percent respectively.
The president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the elections took place in an atmosphere of harassment and intimidation of the opposition. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said it was "neither a fair nor democratic election."
Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov denounced the polls as, in his words, "the dirtiest" in the history of modern Russia.
Mr. Putin brushed off the foreign assessments, saying the legitimacy of parliament "has without a doubt been increased" by the poll results.