§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the assistance to be given to the Russian Federation in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
We shall be sending a small team to observe the elections; we hope to include eight parliamentarians, whom the British group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union have agreed to select on behalf of the Government. I very much hope that hon. Members will actively consider volunteering to participate. We have also offered assistance and advice directly linked to the election preparations and are discussing requirements with the Russian Government. To underline our long-term support for democratic reform in Russia, we have established a British programme for democracy, worth £500,000, to provide training for the new institutions in place after the elections.