Russia

Articles about voting issues in the Russian Federation.

Russia: A Bernie Sanders campaign veteran advises a surging opposition movement in Russia | The Washington Post

Vitali Shkliarov, a 41-year-old political operative born in Belarus, speaks the gospel of Bernie Sanders in the style of a Silicon Valley executive. Technology, he says, is a key to access, and his dream is a “political Uber” designed to pick up potential candidates and get them around the barriers keeping them from office. The idea got a test drive in Moscow’s recent municipal elections, but the veteran of the Sanders and Barack Obama campaigns sees it as part of a worldwide movement. “Obama made politics in America — but also worldwide — cool and sexy,” Shkliarov said in energetic, accented English during a recent interview at a Moscow cocktail bar. “Next, and I was part of it, was Sanders making politics like a Woodstock festival. It was about education, not partisanship.” The next step, he said, is to ensure that anyone can become a candidate. “This is the new era of politics, not just in Russia, but in America, too,” he said. Read More

Russia: “No rules”: Russian activist’s death a symbol of pre-election violence | Reuters

Russian opposition activist Ivan Skripnichenko died after being attacked by a man angry he opposed Vladimir Putin. Over a month later, nobody has been arrested, his family can’t see his autopsy, and authorities say he probably died of heart disease. The assault on the 36-year-old father-of-two is one of a growing number of vicious attacks on opposition figures in the run-up to a presidential election in March which Putin, the incumbent, is widely expected to contest. Most activists do not believe that Putin or the Kremlin have a hand in the attacks, which have included caustic liquid being thrown in a victim’s eyes, a car being set alight, and, in one case, an activist being bashed over the head with an iron bar. But critics say the way the authorities have handled the cases – it’s rare for anyone to be arrested and a nationalist group which says its carries out such attacks openly boasts about its activities – shows that they are at best turning a blind eye, and at worst tacitly condoning the violence. Read More

Russia: How Russians use technology to influence their own elections | TNW

A political sea change is emerging within the Russian Federation, and it’s all thanks to a web app. MunDep (that’s short for “municipal deputy”) is the online interface that gamifies the process of turning someone from Russian citizen into Russian political candidate. The country’s notorious bureaucracy usually keeps citizens away from participating in politics meaningfully, but MunDep presents itself as a convenient central hub for meeting a prospective candidate’s every conceivable need. It guides them through the process of filling out paperwork, collecting signatures, and printing political leaflets for distribution. When candidates face trouble of any sort, they can even chat with the human staff via voice or text. Thoroughly cutting through Russia’s red tape, this platform turns the country’s political registration process into a 15-step “quest” for office. MunDep is the brainchild of Maxim Katz, a former municipal representative currently focused on political technology. He operates it alongside Dmitry Gudkov, former Russian parliament member and current Moscow mayoral candidate, and Vitali Shkliarov, a former operative for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. Read More

Russia: In Moscow, Putin’s opponents chalk up a symbolic victory | Politico.eu

Russia’s liberal opposition is on a high after achieving a series of unprecedented victories in the Kremlin’s backyard at local council elections — including in the wealthy Moscow district where Vladimir Putin cast his own ballot. The United Democrats coalition — spearheaded by Dmitry Gudkov, a former opposition lawmaker, and Yabloko, Russia’s oldest anti-Putin party — claimed 14 districts in the September 10 elections, in some cases winning with a landslide. Opposition candidates held just one district before Sunday’s vote. The majority of the districts won by the coalition lie in the very heart of Moscow. In the Tverskaya district, home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents, the opposition took 11 out of 12 council seats. The coalition also recorded a clean sweep of seats in the Gagarinsky district, the Red Square neighborhood where Putin is registered to vote. Read More

Russia: At a Russian polling station, phantom voters cast ballots for the ‘Tsar’ | Reuters

At polling station no. 333 in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz, Reuters reporters only counted 256 voters casting their ballots in a regional election on Sunday. People were voting across Russia in what is seen as a dress rehearsal for next year’s presidential vote. Kremlin candidates for regional parliaments and governorships performed strongly nationwide. When the official results for polling station no. 333 were declared, the turnout was first given as 1,331 before being revised up to 1,867 on Tuesday. That is more than seven times higher than the number of voters counted by Reuters – with 73 percent of the votes going to United Russia, the party of President Vladimir Putin. Election officials at the polling station said their tally was correct and there were no discrepancies. Reuters reporters were there when the polls opened at 08:00 until after the official count had been completed. They saw one man, who said he was a United Russia election observer, approaching the ballot box multiple times and each time putting inside voting papers. “We must ensure 85 percent for United Russia. Otherwise, the Tsar will stop providing us with money,” the man, Sergei Lyutikov, told a reporter, in an apparent reference to Putin. Read More

Russia: Low turnout, fraud claims mar Russia local elections | AFP

Russians shunned the polls Sunday for local elections which are the last vote before the presidential elections in March next year, with very low turnout rates as the opposition cried foul. There were numerous cases of fraud in the some 6,000 polls organised in 82 regions to elect 16 regional governors and many municipal councils, the opposition claimed, saying things were worst in the capital Moscow. According to preliminary results, the vote went well for parties close to the ruling United Russia, which scored a resounding majority in legislative elections a year ago. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the results were “very favourable” for United Russia, of which he is president, according to comments given to Russian press agencies. Voter turnout rates were low, in particular in Moscow where the electoral commision said that only 14 to 15 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots, according to figures available two hours before polling stations closed. Read More

Russia: A Guide to Russia’s High Tech Tool Box for Subverting US Democracy | WIRED

A dead dog in Moscow. A dead dissident in London. Twitter trolls run by the Kremlin’s Internet Research Agency. Denial of service attacks and ransomware deployed across Ukraine. News reports from the DC offices of Sputnik and RT. Spies hidden in the heart of Wall Street. The hacking of John Podesta’s creamy risotto recipe. And a century-old fabricated staple of anti-Semitic hate literature. At first glance these disparate phenomena might seem only vaguely connected. Sure, they can all be traced back to Russia. But is there any method to their badness? The definitive answer, according to Russia experts inside and outside the US government, is most certainly yes. In fact, they are part of an increasingly digital intelligence playbook known as “active measures,” a wide-ranging set of techniques and strategies that Russian military and intelligence services deploy to influence the affairs of nations across the globe. Read More

Russia: ‘Big hunt’ for Russian hackers, but no obvious election link | Associated Press

Pyotr Levashov appeared to be just another comfortable member of Russia’s rising middle-class—an IT entrepreneur with a taste for upmarket restaurants, Thai massages and foreign travel. Then police raided his vacation rental in Barcelona, marching him out in handcuffs to face charges of being one of the world’s most notorious spam lords. Levashov’s April 7 arrest was one in a series of American-initiated operations over the past year to seize alleged Russian cybercriminals outside their homeland, which has no extradition agreement with the United States. They come at a fraught moment in relations between Moscow and Washington, where politicians are grappling with the allegation that Kremlin hackers intervened in the U.S. election to help President Donald Trump. Through their lawyers, several defendants have suggested their arrests are linked to the election turmoil. Experts say that’s possible, though an Associated Press review of the cases found no firm evidence to back the claim. Read More

Russia: Congress’s retaliation over Russian election hacking prompts stark response from Moscow | The Washington Post

Senior Russian officials and lawmakers on Wednesday attacked new financial sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they ended hopes for the detente between Moscow and Washington that President Trump promised during his campaign.  The new sanctions, which passed the House on Tuesday evening by an overwhelming vote of 419 to 3, targeted key Russian officials in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. Iran and North Korea were also targets. The sanctions’ passage cemented views in Moscow that Trump’s election has provided few deliverables for the Kremlin and that the American president is being held hostage by a foreign policy establishment that seeks conflict with Russia.  Read More

Russia: Alleged Russian Election Meddling Mirrors Tactics in Eastern Europe | Morning Consult

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign is looking outside U.S. borders as well — and shedding light on a number of targets in Eastern Europe that shows why and how Kremlin-affiliated agents went after specific Americans. A recent open hearing by the panel revealed influence campaigns aimed at countries across Europe and the Balkans, meant to disrupt pro-North Atlantic Treaty Organization candidates and parties. Those hearings are taking on new resonance amid an admission by Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, that of a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney, whom the younger Trump believed to be in possession of incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. Russian influence tactics used in the U.S. presidential election and in recent European contests have been used overtly by President Vladimir Putin to exert influence over pro-NATO neighbors in Eastern Europe, experts say. Read More