Elections in Russia: the collapse of hopes for Vladimir Putin
Ballot stuffing, military transport to polling places, the beating of independent observers. The regular election process in Russia, isn’t it?
Probably the Russians do not already believe they can make a difference. The national turnout was a little over 21 percent. But, despite numerous violations, the Russian opposition claims victory.
Vladimir Putin’s hopes for a total victory for United Russia candidates in the local elections were crushed. Voters did not see anyone worth to be elected among pro-government candidates. And for the first time in many years, United Russia has lost a third of its votes in regional authorities.
As famous opposition politician Alexei Navalny claimed: “For the first time in Putin’s 20 years in power, his party met with organized resistance in the elections, and we won”
This time even the administrative resource did not help the authorities, as well as numerous attempts to manipulate the will of citizens. So in Tatarstan, they massively threw ballots into ballot boxes. And not only there. Also, cadets and military were massively brought to polling stations.
The most scandalous voting as claimed by independent experts was voting in St. Petersburg, a hometown of Vladimir Putin. They had a whole range of manipulations over there: the ballots were thrown in, the “voters” were brought in, and the observers from the opposition were doused with brilliant green to prevent them from doing their job. They even ran away with bags of ballots from polling stations at the end of the vote.
So if you want to win your next elections – these are your key points. JK, honest politicians do not play dirty. Or do they?
The St.Petersburg’s election fraud allowed the interim acting governor of St. Petersburg, pro-government Andrei Beglov, to retain his post. As well as the fact that before voting, under his pressure, the registration of several independent candidates was canceled. But, I mean, was it a surprise to anyone?
Authorities did the same in Moscow. And this led to mass protests. They lasted almost two months, and each time the metropolitan authorities pressed the protesters very brutally.
Four people, including the anti-Putin activist Konstantin Kotov, have been sentenced to prison on charges related to the election protests.
However, the police did not help the city authorities this time. On the contrary, in the Moscow Duma, for the first time in many years, seats were distributed almost evenly between pro-government candidates and representatives of the opposition.
Voting also took place in the occupied Crimea. Non-recognition of elections on the annexed peninsula has already been announced in Brussels. This statement was supported in Georgia, Poland, and the Baltic countries. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed its protest to Russia and emphasized that the voting results in the occupied Crimea have no legal force.
So there we have – opposition is taking a big part in Duma for the first time in many years. Can it be the beginning of the end for the unquestioning rule of Putin and his surroundings?