While there were charges of fraud in Russia’s presidential election Sunday, officials throughout most of the country appeared to be on notice to avoid the appearance of cheating in obvious ways like ballot stuffing. But some here seem not to have gotten the memo. Deyeshi Dautmerzayeva has lived with her son’s family since he disappeared in 2003, presumably at the hands of the Russians. Mrs. Daudmerzayeva said she voted for Vladimir V. Putin because she believes he knows what happened to her relatives. At Precinct 451, members of the local electoral commission set about counting a pile of glistening white ballots. “Putin, Putin, Putin,” they muttered. “Good, more Putin.” Vladimir V. Putin did well in Chechnya, a place that he virtually declared war on after becoming president in 1999, and whose people have suffered grievous human rights abuses at the hands of Russian security forces. The final tally: Putin, 1,482 votes; Gennady A. Zyuganov, the Communist Party leader, one vote.
This result was in itself statistically improbable. But even more difficult for the teachers who had been drafted onto the electoral commission to explain was the turnout: there were only 1,389 people registered in the precinct, meaning that the turnout was 107 percent. “Look, something is not adding up here,” said Milana Atlanova, the head of the commission, growing increasingly confused.
Analysts of Russian elections say the North Caucasus region is a place where violations of election law are uniquely brazen, from a combination of top-down pressure, cultural factors and, in Chechnya, a fearful milieu of police intimidation.
Full Article: Fraudulent Votes for Putin Abound in Chechnya – NYTimes.com.