Russia’s parliamentary election was marred by over 3,600 violations the country’s top independent monitor Golos reported after a decisive win for the government. Ruling party United Russia won a record number of seats, in an expected victory by unexpected margins. Its new electoral chief hailed the vote as the cleanest in Russia’s history and, despite monitors noting violations were fewer than in previous occasions, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) stressed the vote was still hampered by challenges to “fundamental freedoms and political rights” and “numerous procedural irregularities” during counting. Golos head Grigory Melkonyants told news site Rus2Web that the group had “spotted the full spectrum of violations” on polling day. Golos reported several incidents involving suspected mass transportation of voters to constituencies in coaches and announced that the group had received reports of “ballot stuffing” from 16 regions of Russia.
Some of the instances of ballot box stuffing by local commission officials were caught on camera, including a particularly obvious one in Rostov region’s 1958 polling station, which was widely shared online.
The clip features two members at a school gym hall, turned into a polling station, wait for a moment when no voters are present. Once the queue of voters dissipates, the two stand in front of the ballot box, as a third colleague, carrying a stack of ballots goes behind them, pouring the papers into the box.