The European Parliament has condemned shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of Russia's March 4 presidential elections. In a resolution passed on Thursday, it called on Vladimir Putin to tone down his rhetoric against the protesters and begin a "sincere dialogue" with them. Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) has emphatically condemned the European Parliament resolution. "This is a super tendentious and groundless statement,” CEC Deputy Chairman Stanislav Vavilov stated. “Everything is just the opposite – the election was free and fair."