(dpa) - Dmitry Medvedev's landslide win to succeed Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin was "neither free nor fair," the chief of the sole Western election observer mission said Monday - but there appeared to be agreement the poll reflected the will of the Russian electorate.
The election amounted to a "plebiscite" or "a vote of confidence in the incumbent president," Andreas Gross, head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) mission told journalists Monday.
In Brussels on Monday, Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission - the European Union executive - said shared values such as democracy and political freedom should guide the bloc's relations with Medvedev's Russia.
"I am confident that under President Medvedev's leadership, the Russian Federation and the European Union will consolidate and develop their strategic partnership, based not only on common interests but also on respect for the values to which we both declared our commitment," Barosso said.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown congratulated Medvedev on his landslide victory but stressed that the new Russian government would be judged "on its actions."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Medvedev said she hopes to meet him as soon a possible, government spokesman Thomas Steg said.
"The result of the election documents the wish of the Russian people for continuity and stability," Steg said.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said his country hopes Medvedev will continue efforts to "deepen democracy" and carry out economic reforms.
Reinfeldt also said he regretted that the elections were not monitored by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Medvedev on Sunday evening staked his authority over Russia's foreign policy, answering burning questions about how he would divide power with his mentor Putin.
"It's quite simple. In short, the constitution leaves the president in charge of foreign policy," he said in his first meeting with reporters after his victory Sunday.
But in his first appearance on state television after polls closed he stood alongside Putin - in a scene that mirrored his path to power.