Facebook’s early May takedown of a Russian political disinformation operation was much larger than previously thought, according to research published this weekend by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. The Russian-linked actors behind the campaign went well beyond just amplifying political narratives on Facebook, and in fact began much earlier by planting false stories and then later amplifying these fake stories using fake accounts. In one case, these Russian-linked actors impersonated Sen. Marco Rubio’s Twitter account in a tweet that made it look like he was disparaging Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters. Then-Defense Secretary of the UK Gavin Williams was also victim to a similar photoshop effort. One of the false stories that the Russian trolls created and amplified through fake accounts includes a storyline that a Spanish intelligence agency rooted out an anti-Brexit pilot to assassinate Boris Johnson. Johnson is now in the running to serve as the UK’s next prime minister.Full Article: Russia's trolling tactics are getting more elaborate.
Articles about voting issues in the Russian Federation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reaffirmed his staunch denial that his government meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election despite the extensive evidence to the contrary, and insisted Moscow has no intention of interfering in any future votes, either. Speaking in response to a question from The Associated Press during a meeting with chief executives of international news agencies in St. Petersburg, the Russian leader said that “we didn’t meddle, we aren’t meddling and we will not meddle in any elections.” Putin and other Russian officials have hotly denied any interference with the U.S. vote to help Donald Trump win the presidency, even though U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller has uncovered evidence of a Kremlin operation to interfere with the 2016 vote. He charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with breaking into Democratic Party emails, and also indicted other Russians who used phony social media accounts to spread divisive rhetoric and to undermine the U.S. political system.Full Article: Putin says Russia didn’t meddle in US vote, despite evidence - The Washington Post.
The State Duma will consider a bill envisaging a test remote voting via electronic communications during the elections to the Moscow parliament in the second reading on May 16, the Moscow City Duma Chairman Alexey Shaposhnikov has told journalists. Under the draft law, the test voting is to be conducted in only one city district. The remote voting would require changes and development of public control over the elections, Alexander Brod, a member of the Presidential Council of Human Rights, said earlier. Previously, the Central Election Commission (CEC) proposed to ease the procedure governing the elections of municipal deputies.Full Article: E-voting bill faces second reading in Russia’s lower house of parliament | RAPSI.
Russia’s lower house of parliament has passed a law allowing electronic voting in public elections – despite complaints that MPs’ own electronic voting system was being abused. Communist Aleksei Kurinny said fewer than half the MPs who backed the bill were actually present to vote. Earlier, his colleague Sergei Ivanov said some MPs were abusing the system by voting on behalf of colleagues. Deputy Speaker Alexander Zhukov ignored the complaints. Mr Ivanov, an MP for the Liberal Democratic Party, appeared to cast doubt on the reliability of any electronic voting, based on his colleagues’ behaviour in the State Duma. “I will not vote for this bill… There are 140 of you in this chamber, give or take one or two. If you are honest and decent people and don’t vote for your colleague who is not occupying their seat next to you, the bill won’t pass.” Media reports say Mr Zhukov tried to make a joke of the plea, calling on MPs not in the chamber to take their seats.Full Article: Russian MPs cry foul in row over electronic voting - BBC News.
The world’s internet infrastructure has no central authority. To keep it working, everyone needs to rely on everyone else. As a result, the global patchwork of undersea cables, satellites, and other technologies that connect the world often ignores the national borders on a map. To stay online, many countries must rely on equipment outside their own confines and control. Nation-states periodically attempt to exert greater authority over their own portions of the internet, which can lead to shutdowns. Last month, for example, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo turned off its internet during a highly contested presidential election. Now Russia, too, wants to test whether it can disconnect itself from the rest of the world, local media reported last week. But Russia is much larger than the DRC, and it has significantly more sophisticated infrastructure. Cutting itself off would be an onerous task that could have myriad unintended consequences. If anything, the whole project illustrates just how entangled—and strong—the global internet has become. “What we have seen so far is that it tends to be much harder to turn off the internet, once you built a resilient internet infrastructure, than you’d think,” says Andrew Sullivan, CEO of Internet Society, a nonprofit that promotes the open development of the internet.Full Article: What Happens If Russia Cuts Itself Off From the Internet | WIRED.
Russian authorities and major internet providers are planning to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment, Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) reported last week. The reason for the experiment is to gather insight and provide feedback and modifications to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament in December 2018. A first draft of the law mandated that Russian internet providers should ensure the independence of the Russian internet space (Runet) in the case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet.Full Article: Russia to disconnect from the internet as part of a planned test | ZDNet.
Russians living in the far eastern region of Primorsky Krai elected a Kremlin-backed candidate for governor Sunday after the results from a previous election were thrown out due to alleged voting fraud. Local election officials said the acting governor of the region, Oleg Kozhemyako, won 61.8 percent of the votes after more than 99 percent of the ballots had been counted in the Russian region on the Sea of Japan. The election commission said Andrei Andreichenko of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party came in second with 25.2 percent of the vote. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called Kozhemyako to congratulate him on the victory. President Vladimir Putin tapped Kozhemyako to stand in as governor of Primorsky Krai and run in the election in place of the former acting governor, Andrei Tarasenko.Full Article: Kremlin candidate wins Far East governorship in repeat vote - The Washington Post.
Russia: In a first for Russia, Moscow agrees with locals that their election was rigged | CS Monitor
It is fairly common to hear public complaints that fraud is boosting pro-Kremlin candidates in Russian elections. But it is exceedingly rare to see Moscow authorities lend solid support to such complaints. That’s just what occurred in the far eastern province of Primorsky Krai, or Primorye, last week, after a “miraculous” last-minute voting surge in favor of the Kremlin-backed incumbent governor, Andrei Tarasenko, handed him a narrow victory over his Communist opponent, Andrei Ishchenko. The Communists, who say this sort of thing happens to them all the time in distant regions, took their usual course of staging some street protests and filing a lawsuit in the local court. Even they were surprised when the Central Electoral Commission in Moscow declared that the election was marred by violations and the results must be annulled. It’s the first time in post-Soviet history that a local election has been overturned.Full Article: In a first for Russia, Moscow agrees with locals that their election was rigged - CSMonitor.com.
Russia’s Far East region has cancelled the result of a runoff governorship vote in an unprecedented move after claims of vote-rigging in favour of a candidate backed by President Vladimir Putin triggered protests. A local electoral commission took the decision on Thursday after Russia’s election chief Ella Pamfilova on Wednesday recommended re-running the vote. The crisis erupted in the Far Eastern region of Primorsky Krai where an opposition candidate accused a ruling party representative endorsed by Putin of “stealing” his victory in the vote last Sunday.Full Article: Russia cancels local election results in Far East after protests | Russia News | Al Jazeera.
A regional election in Russia’s Far East will be re-run, the local election commission said on Thursday, dealing a rare blow to the Kremlin after allegations the vote had been rigged in its candidate’s favor. The ruling, in Russia’s Primorsky Region which includes the Pacific port of Vladivostok, 6,400 km (4,000 miles) east of Moscow, came a day after Russia’s top election official recommended that the election be re-run. Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, had not accused the Kremlin-backed candidate, Andrei Tarasenko, of orchestrating the vote-rigging, but had said that a raft of irregularities had been identified, including ballot stuffing and vote buying.Full Article: Election in Russia's Far East to be re-run after fraud scandal | Reuters.
Russian gubernatorial candidate Andrei Ishchenko, of the Communist Party, has ended his hunger strike in protest of election authorities of rigging the results in Sunday’s runoff vote for governor of the Primorye region, in the country’s Far East. The hunger strike was called off — at least for now — after officials said they would investigate the vote count. With 95% of the ballots counted, Ishchenko had a 5% lead over the candidate from a pro-Kremlin party. However, a few hours later election officials reported that after all the votes were counted, the Kremlin-backed incumbent Andrei Tarasenko had won.Full Article: Russian candidate protests 'rigged' election with hunger strike | Euronews.
Russia: ‘Miraculous’ election win for Kremlin-backed candidate causes protests in Russia’s far-east | The Independent
Even by Russian election standards – the kind that has given us 146 per cent voter turnouts – this was a magical turnaround. With 95 per cent of the votes counted in the gubernatorial elections in Russia’s far east Primorsky Krai, the Kremlin’s United Russia candidate, Andrei Tarasenko, was a full five points behind his challenger, Communist Andrei Ishchenko. But in a sensational final sprint, Mr Tarasenko added an improbable 13,000 votes, equating to nearly 100 per cent of the vote in the last 1 per cent of precincts. Even more miraculous was the fact his challenger Mr Ishchenko lost five votes in the process. Just days earlier, Mr Tarasenko received a personal endorsement from President Vladimir Putin. “I know you have a run-off coming up. I think everything is going to be fine,” Mr Putin said.Full Article: 'Miraculous' election win for Kremlin-backed candidate causes protests in Russia's far-east | The Independent.
Kremlin opponents across Russia took to the streets on Sunday to protest planned hikes to the retirement age, just as authorities were holding regional elections on the same day. Hundreds took part in the demonstrations across 25 towns and cities, including in Moscow and in St. Petersburg. The protests were called by opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, who is currently serving a 30-day jail sentence in connection with an unrelated protest back in January. Around 50 of his supporters were arrested ahead of Sunday’s rallies, although that failed to stop them from going ahead. Another 150 people were arrested at the various protests, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info.Full Article: Protests over pension reform overshadow Russia′s local elections | News | DW | 09.09.2018.
On March 18, 2018, Russians reelected President Vladimir Putin by a huge margin. Official reports say that 67 percent of voters went to the polls and that 76 percent of those supported the incumbent. This result comes as zero surprise, and media coverage has focused on the lack of true opposition candidates and allegations of ballot-stuffing. But there is more to this story. About 800,000 poll workers at more than 95,000 polling stations across Russia delivered basic administrative services for this election. This army of street-level bureaucrats verified voter identities, issued/counted the ballots and established the voting tallies at each precinct. How did Sunday’s election look, behind the scenes? We tend to assume that poll workers, whether they are in South Dakota or the Northern Caucasus, are professional and independent. Put simply, we expect poll workers to leave aside their political biases and ensure that voting takes place according to fair and impartial procedures.Full Article: Who counted the votes in Russia? We checked. - The Washington Post.
As expected, Vladimir Putin was reelected Sunday with a reported 76 percent of the vote, outpacing his nearest competitor by more than 60 points. The next morning, Ella Pamfilova, head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, claimed that the contest was one of Russia’s cleanest, with about half as many complaints of irregularities as in the 2012 presidential contest. But irregularities were still numerous. As Russians filed in and out of polling stations Sunday, reports and videos of attacks on election monitors and blatant ballot stuffing littered social media feeds. The videos came from Moscow, the Far East, Chechnya and Dagestan — among other places. So blatant were some of these acts that the results from several of these stations were annulled.Full Article: Videos online show blatant ballot-stuffing in Russia - The Washington Post.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said on Monday there had been no real choice in Russia’s presidential election and complained it had been marked by unfair pressure on critical voices. “Choice without real competition, as we have seen here, is not real choice,” the OSCE said in a statement, adding that restrictions on fundamental freedoms, as well as on candidate registration, had limited the space for political engagement. The OSCE gave its verdict after President Vladimir Putin won 76.69 percent of vote in a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, extending his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years. Putin’s critics, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was barred from running in the race, said there had been widespread fraud and that observers had seen people being bussed to polling stations by their own employers.Full Article: OSCE says Russian presidential election lacked real choice.
Days before Russia’s presidential elections, police are trying to seize documents that give activist observers access to polling stations and a leading elections watchdog has unexpectedly seen its office lease revoked. “You shouldn’t hold this event here or you’ll have trouble,” Roman Udot, a representative for the independent Golos Association elections watchdog, said his landlord was told by police before they ripped up the contract. The “event” was a call centre to field reports of election violations. The government denies interfering. Russia’s short, frustrating and listless presidential campaign is grinding to its inevitable conclusion. Even Vladimir Putin hardly seems enthused, devoting less than two minutes to a final campaign speech in Crimea, the peninsula he annexed from Ukraine in 2014 to domestic acclaim and international condemnation.Full Article: Russian police put the squeeze on election observers before vote | World news | The Guardian.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s longest-serving ruler since Joseph Stalin, surprised no one with his landslide re-election on Sunday. While his victory, in which he claimed 73.9 percent of the vote according to state-run exit polls, was a foregone conclusion, the Kremlin was reportedly anxious about turnout, and conducted an elaborate, well-financed get-out-the-vote campaign. For an authoritarian regime in which election results and turnout are pre-ordained, such concerns may seem odd. But even in Russia’s “managed democracy,” appearances still matter, and the Kremlin needed to present believably high levels of support to ensure Putin’s mandate. Shortly after polling centers closed on Sunday night, Putin appeared to be on target to achieve the desired 65 percent turnout. But even more important for Putin is that this election marked the culmination of his nearly two-decades-long project to control information in Russia and manipulate Russian society. Now, Putin has proven beyond any doubt that the Russia he has built is his and his alone.Full Article: How Russia Meddled in its Own Elections - The Atlantic.
Russians went to the polls on Sunday to vote in what was more a referendum on giving President Vladimir V. Putin another six years in office than an actual competitive race. With cold winter temperatures covering the vast, continental country, more than 110 million people were eligible to vote from the distant Kamchatka peninsula in the Far East to the European enclave of Kaliningrad, where the last polls were due to close at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Gone were the Soviet days when there was just one name on the ballot and the winner habitually harvested 99 percent of the vote. The spirit was similar, however, with pictures of Mr. Putin and his campaign slogan, “Strong president, strong Russia,” blanketing the country.Full Article: Presidential Vote in Russia Sure to Give Putin 6 More Years - The New York Times.
In recent months, billboards around Russia have been advertising the coming presidential elections with the colours of the Russian flag and the message “Our country, our president, our choice”. Millions will vote on March 18th, but they will not have much choice at all. Vladimir Putin, who has already ruled for longer than any Russian leader since Stalin, has managed to get rid of any credible competition and there is no doubt he will emerge victorious and embark on another six-year term. The fall of communism more than a quarter-century ago was supposed to usher in a new democratic Russia. So how is it that Mr Putin can triumph every time?Full Article: Why Vladimir Putin is sure to win the Russian election - The Economist explains.