The U.S., U.K. and the European Union criticized Russia over what they say was an uneven playing field for genuine opposition politicians.

"The September 17-19 Duma elections in the Russian Federation took place under conditions not conducive to free and fair proceedings," said the U.S. State Department on Monday in a statement.

It specifically referred to Russian authorities' use of laws on extremism, "foreign agent" and "undesirable organizations" that negatively affect independent candidates or parties that oppose the Kremlin. The department went further and accused Russia of violating international laws by denying international election observers entry to polling facilities.

“We call upon Russia to honor its international obligations to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to end its pressure campaign on civil society, the political opposition, and independent media,” the State Department statement read.

These remarks were echoed by Western partners in Europe.

In their own remarks, the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) called the elections “a serious step back for democratic freedoms in Russia” for denying civil society actors an even playing field during the race. The E.U.’s statement highlighted these limitations and called on Russia’s leaders to “reverse these negative developments.”

"The E.U. reiterates its deep concerns over the continuous pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society and independent voices across Russia,” read a statement from the European Council, the bloc's governing body.

The statements criticized Russia for hosting elections in the Crimean Peninsula and in the portions of eastern Ukraine where it supports anti-Kyiv separatists. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, creating a rupture in relations between Russia and the West.

Russia hosted nationwide elections for seats in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature. President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party walked away with a large majority in results that the Russian opposition says were the result of large-scale fraud orchestrated from the top.

In the run-up to this weekend’s elections, Russia launched a crackdown on the supporters of detained opposition politician Alexei Navalny, as well as independent news outlets that exposed corruption related to the ruling United Russia Party and Putin.

Navalny, the charismatic anti-corruption politician who advocated a “Smart Voting” initiative to break United Russia’s hold on power, was arrested in January and remains in a penal colony. His Anti-Corruption Network (FBK) soon became a target of new arrests and restrictions, forcing a number of them into exile. Other independent politicians and news outlets that published exposes on corruption among the Russian elite were also swept up in this crackdown.

While Navalny’s name was not included in any of the statements condemning the election results, his poisoning by Russian intelligence services last year deepened the rift between Moscow and Western countries. The U.S., U.K., and E.U. have all placed sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the attempt on Navalny's life. 

Russia has consistently rejected any accusation that it poisoned Navalny or that it is doing anything more than enforcing the law through its arrest of opposition candidates.