Russia election monitors witness electoral fraud

Russia election monitors witness electoral fraud

[JURIST] Golos [advocacy website], a Russian organization which advocates for fair elections, reported [text, in Russian] numerous, large-scale instances of electoral fraud at Sunday’s election, in which Vladimir Putin was reelected. In addition to members monitoring the voting facilities in person, the organization received 2,000 written reports of violations on election day and six thousand calls to the organization’s hotline.

Issues spotted by the organization include, but are not limited to, limited competition, falsifications by the state-controlled media, and eligible voters being excluded from voting lists. The organization also observed violations in counting the votes, and authorities restricting observers from polling places. Video cameras revealed instances of ballot box stuffing, rendering the results at some of the polling places to be declared invalid.

Golos stated:

[W]e regretfully have to state that we can not recognize these elections as truly honest – fully consistent with the Constitution, the laws of the Russian Federation and international election standards, since these the results were achieved during the unfree, unequal and uncompetitive election campaign. This does not allow us to assert that the real will of voters was formed as a result of a free election campaign.

However, according to opposition politician and activist Alexei Navalny [BBC feature], fewer Russians voted [blog, in Russian] for Putin or voted at all.

In November Russian lawmakers approved [JURIST report] a law requiring foreign media agents to label their materials as the work of foreign agents. In October a court sentenced [JURIST report] Navalny to 20 days in jail. In July the US and the UK urged [JURIST report] Russia to further the investigation for an activist’s murder.