One video shows an election official at a polling station in Moscow filling out ballots as he sits at his desk. Another how people were bussed from one polling station to another to vote over and over again. An observer at a Moscow polling station posted a scan of a document on Monday showing United Russia had garnered 271 votes there, while election authorities said the real figure was – in fact – over 600.
These are just some of the allegations of election fraud in favor of the ruling United Russia party that have surfaced since Sunday’s vote. Many were uploaded to websites or social network forums by individual bloggers. Golos, Russia’s only independent election monitor, has logged more than 7,000 cases of falsification and said its website suffered a “denial-of-service” cyber-attack. Liberal radio station Echo Moskvy and the daily Kommersant paper have also said their websites were brought down.
“These are the last elections in Russia on such a scale of fraud,” Golos head Lilia Shibanova told a news conference on Sunday night, as it became apparent that despite widespread reports of ballot box stuffing, Vladimir Putin’s party would lose its current two-thirds majority.
The foreign-funded group said halfway through Sunday’s election there were 20 times more violations than at the previous polls in 2007. “We can’t even call them elections – it’s the theft of votes from the Russian people,” opposition leader Boris Nemtsov told reporters. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the election was marred by the “convergence of the state and the governing party.”
“The contest was also slanted in favor of the ruling party as evidenced by the lack of independence of the election administration, the partiality of most media, and the undue interference of state authorities at different levels,” Petros Efthymiou, head of the OSCE delegation, told a news conference on Monday.
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