Russian Duma elections 2011 8 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 7 years ago

Considering some of the recent 'attention' on Russia with regards to its positions over the Missile Shield, Libya, and Syria, these election results might be of interest.

This is only with 70-75% of vote counted but it already seems to indicate that United Russia will have less seats than it had last election. How much less we'll only know once all votes are counted. At any rate United Russia will still be the largest party in the Duma.

Opposition groups are however saying that there was still fraud and irregularities. Turnout seems to be low (though admittedly it wouldn't be much different from a corresponding US election- for the most part), but again final numbers can't be known until 100% is counted.

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BBC News - Putin's United Russia party suffers poll setback

Putin's United Russia party suffers poll setback

Early returns from Russia's parliamentary polls point to a sharp drop in support for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.

With 75% of ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said United Russia had 50% of the vote, down from 64% in 2007.

The vote is being seen as a popularity test of Mr Putin, who is running for the presidency in March.

Opposition parties have complained of violations of election laws. Russia's only independent monitoring group, Golos, says it has logged 5,300 complaints alleging violations of election laws. 'Violations and fraud'

If the result is confirmed, United Russia could lose its current two-thirds majority which allowed it to change the constitution unchallenged.

Nonetheless, party chairman Boris Gryzlov says the party hopes to get a majority in the Duma.

The election commission said the Communist Party was in second place with 19.3% of the vote.

A Just Russia was in third place with 13% and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) had 11.8%, the election commission said.

"We have received thousands of calls from regional offices, confirming massive violations and fraud," said Communist Party deputy head Ivan Melnikov on the party website.

"Throughout the day, it was like receiving reports from a war zone." The BBC's Steve Rosenberg, in Moscow, says if confirmed, the result will be a significant embarrassment to Mr Putin, three months before he is scheduled to run again for the Russian presidency.

He says opposition parties are alleging widespread fraud, including the stuffing of ballot boxes and voters being offered money.

Mr Putin served as president from 2000 to 2008 but was prohibited by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term.

Golos, whose monitors are not affiliated with any party, said its website suffered a cyber-attack. Ekho Moskvy, a liberal radio station, said its website had also been attacked.

Golos - which means "voice" or "vote" - is funded largely by the US and EU. Prime Minister Putin has accused foreign powers of meddling in election preparations, while Duma members have questioned why a foreign-funded organisation is allowed to monitor Russian elections.

Moscow police said more than 100 people were arrested at an opposition demonstration in the city centre on Sunday.

Violations reported in Russia polls - Europe - Al Jazeera English

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Opposition politicians and election monitors have alleged extensive elections violations during voting in Russia's parliamentary polls, as preliminary tallies indicate a decline from 315 to 220 in the ruling party's seats.

United Russia took 48.5 per cent of the votes, down from 64 per cent in 2007. And the Communists came in second with around 20 per cent.

Several parties on Sunday complained of irregularities aimed at boosting United Russia's vote count, including intimidation of voters.

In Vladivostok in the east, voters complained to police that United Russia was offering free food in exchange for promises to vote for the party.

Turnout was low in many areas was lower Sunday compared to the previous election.

The vote is seen as an important test of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's popularity, just three months before he is due to stand in presidential elections.

His United Russia party is expected to win Sunday's polls but could lose its constitutional majority and end up having to share power in parliament with their political rivals.

Only seven parties have been allowed to field candidates for parliament this year, while the most vocal opposition groups have been denied registration and barred from campaigning.

Al Jazeera's Neave Barker, reporting from Moscow, said: "The country's only independent election observer called Golos reported that more than 5,000 irregularities have been recorded, many of them connected with people pressured to vote mainly for the country's biggest and most powerful party, United Russia".

"There have been some skirmishes today in and around Red Square," our correspondent said. "The capital is on lockdown, and the police are looking for any sign of trouble, with more protests expected later on."

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Garry Kasparov, a political activist and former world chess champion, said: "All the other parties participating in this so called election are 100 per cent under the Kremlin's control.

"Voting for them is to vote for puppets in the theatre of the absurd." About 30 opposition protesters gathered by the Kremlin screaming: "Your elections are a farce!" through loudspeakers. Twelve were detained by police, Reuters witnesses said.

'Ballot-stuffing'

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said his party monitors thwarted an attempt to stuff a ballot box at a Moscow polling station where they found 300 ballots already in the box before the start of the vote.

He said incidents of ballot-stuffing were reported at several other stations in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and other areas. In the southern city of Krasnodar, unidentified people posing as Communist monitors had shown up at polling stations and the real observers from the party were not allowed in, Zyuganov said.

And for RT's angle....

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Early vote results: United Russia loses some voters, wins with 50% — RT

A tense night is ahead for participants in Russia’s parliamentary elections as vote counting gets underway. According to early vote results, the United Russia party, chaired by PM Vladimir Putin, is leading with 50% of the vote.

According to the Russian Central Election Commission, the Communist Party (KPRF) is second with 19% of the votes, followed by Fair Russia with around 13%, and the LDPR with a little under 12%.

Liberal party Yabloko, the Right Cause and Patriots of Russia are unlikely to cross the required 7 % threshold and make it into the State Duma. The official results are yet to be announced and they might be different from those provided by the exit polls.

However, support for United Russia seems to have declined for the first time since it was created in 2001.

The leader of the party, Vladimir Putin, who cast his ballot early in the afternoon, was asked at the polling station what he expected from the elections."A good result for United Russia," he told journalists. All in all, seven registered political parties have been taking part in the elections on December 4. The front-runners, United Russia, the Liberal Democrats (LDPR), the Communists and Fair Russia, had representatives in the Duma of the fifth convocation, which held its last session on November 23. Yabloko, the Right Cause, and the Patriots of Russia are only hoping to get seats in the 450-seat parliament.

Voter turnout varied depending on the region, with the North Caucasus traditionally being rather active, with citizens of Central Russia, including Moscow and St Petersburg, having less enthusiasm for casting their ballots. The overall voter turnout will later be announced by the Central Election Commission.

United Russia's lead comes as no surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, the once mighty political force has lost points compared to 2007’s Duma elections when it scored a landslide victory with over 64% of the vote and got 315 seats in the parliament. Recently it has often been subject to criticism for its inability to curb corruption or to narrow the huge gap between the country’s rich and poor, and for political and economic stagnation.

However, United Russia has hit back saying that it is a party of action and that its course has proven to be good for the country. President Dmitry Medvedev, who tops the United Russia list for the election, noted earlier last week that changes in Russia are obvious. He admitted though that there are still many problems and that much has to be done.

"We are not ashamed going into the elections,” Medvedev pointed out speaking at his and Putin's meeting with supporters.

Last month the president stressed that United Russia is “an efficient party which has taken responsibility both for the economy and social care system, and for the safety of our citizens, and for our wellbeing.”

“We never promise the impossible, but we always do what is possible. We’ve had successes and we’ve had decisions that have not been implemented to the full. Of course, we’ve made mistakes and we deserve criticism for them. But it's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes. We are a party of action and, whatever some say, we have done quite a lot. It’s a fact you cannot deny, and that’s what makes us so strong,” he said.




Rikupsoni

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#2 7 years ago

So the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has also said there were a lot of electoral frauds going on. They said ballot boxes were filled with some votes before being sealed as inspectors weren't allowed to get in to see them.

United Russia got 49.54 % of the votes. What it would have been without cheating?

But I have no preference there. I wouldn't vote for the Communist (they're really Stalinists, supporting statues for Stalin here and there and wanted re-Stalinization in a letter to Medvedev). Then there's Zhirinovsky's LDP, that guy has some funny opinions. Then a few pro-United Russia supporting parties.

So I wouldn't say United Russia is that bad. But, it's good that they don't have such a large majority like before with 2/3 that they could pass a new constitution by themselves.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#3 7 years ago

I also read reports about election fraud, seems credible as several organizations report it. Some critical websites were also blocked during the weekend.

It is strange though that with all these attempts at rigging the election United Russia only got 50%. Maybe Putin figured that a 90% win would be too obvious and only wanted to get a bit of a boost and then simply miscalculated the effect of his deal with Medvedev.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/world/europe/russian-parliamentary-elections-criticized-by-west.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=europe




Commissar MercZ

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#4 7 years ago

Rikupsoni;5591097

But I have no preference there. I wouldn't vote for the Communist (they're really Stalinists, supporting statues for Stalin here and there and wanted re-Stalinization in a letter to Medvedev). [/QUOTE]

The CPRF is an odd outfit. They've really gone more into nationalist bantering and nostalgia more than anything else. Really other 'Stalinist' Communist parties and the like view them as a lost cause by this point. Ideologically (the leadership, at least) they adhere more to a social-democratic reformist platform than the hardline "Marxist-Leninist" dogma that is usually pushed by these groups.

Some (older) accounts along that line:

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Boris Kagarlitsky: The Russian Left Today (2001)
The only thing that is now left-wing about the official Communist party is its name. For socialism, the party leaders have substituted the slogan of “great-power patriotism”, and the press organs they control are full of racist and anti-semitic attacks. Under the leadership of Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation not only gives fervent support to the genocide in Chechnya, but regularly helps the government to implement its economic policies. It is no accident that representatives of the KPRF were in the first ranks of those who sought the ruinous increase in telephone charges, justifying this on the basis of the need to accumulate funds in national industries. In essence, the actions of the leaders of Russia’s official communist movement would be better suited to members of a fascist party.
RUSSIA: Is there life for KPRF after Yeltsin? | Green Left Weekly

Within their own circle, meanwhile, the Communist Party elite were more reminiscent of white guards, monarchists, and members of the Black Hundreds; they made no particular effort to conceal their dislike for Bolsheviks, for Lenin, Trotsky and other "rebels". In his theoretical works Zyuganov defended the achievements of far right-wing anti-communist ideologues from Ivan Purishkevich to Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama. In the language of the party elite, all this went by the name of "state patriotism".

One after another, "anti-social budgets" were passed on the votes of the Communists. As a reward, the party elite received confirmation of its status, while the sectoral lobbyists got to introduce a few beneficial amendments. Naturally, the Communist deputies also received consolation prizes, in the form of packets of green notes. The honest deputies put the money into their re-election funds, and the less honest ones, straight into their pockets.

Though of course at the same time one could argue this was the final trajectory for the Stalinist policies... depends on your perspective.

[QUOTE=MrFancypants;5591106]I also read reports about election fraud, seems credible as several organizations report it. Some critical websites were also blocked during the weekend.

It is strange though that with all these attempts at rigging the election United Russia only got 50%. Maybe Putin figured that a 90% win would be too obvious and only wanted to get a bit of a boost and then simply miscalculated the effect of his deal with Medvedev.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/world/europe/russian-parliamentary-elections-criticized-by-west.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=europe

The explanation I suppose if one would want to go along with this is the accusation that Putin runs a 'managed' democracy where those 'opposition' parties are generally not going to challenge major things. Considering the lack of 'fire' the major opposition groups have at time towards the United Russia, it could very well mean these guys really aren't doing anything expected of a opposition party and playing along.

One can see that the opposition parties, for the most part, have been consistent fixtures over the past decade or so. CPRF has been around since 1991, as has LDPR. Just Russia is just a combination/renaming of several groups that existed prior. In short there is no 'new' blood in the field, at least those that managed to pass the threshold.

There was a nice article about that issue here.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#5 7 years ago

It is regretabbly true that the political landscape in Russia looks dismal. I suppose Putin is quite good at dealing with trouble at an early stage, for example by increasing the percent hurdle for parties and arresting protesters.

Speaking of protests, there are some unprecedented protests in Moscow as a result of the election fraud. Just like his friends in Northern Africa Putin seems to have relied too much on state-TV and forgot to take care of the internet.

I guess it would be too much to hope for, but if Putin joined Berlusconi and the other failed autocrats that wold be a nice ending for this year.




Commissar MercZ

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#6 7 years ago

I wouldn't say it was relying 'too much' on state tv and forgetting internet, AFAIK the majority of those in that particular protest were aligned with the 'liberal' opposition who received no seats because they failed to pass the 7% threshold. With our with out that aspect of Putin's control they would have been there to protest.

If we saw a larger protest or an escalation of sorts, then we could compare him to the other autocratic leaders. All that depends on what choice is taken by those who feel this election was 'wrong'. Today there was another rally, but it got met by larger pro-United Russia crowds.




Commissar MercZ

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#7 7 years ago

Here is a video floating around claiming evidence of ballot stuffing by an election 'volunteer'. The video is taken from above him, which shows him filling out a number of election ballots before he is called out by the cameraman.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#8 7 years ago

There are sizeable protests in Russia today (get it? Russia today, hehe): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/world/europe/thousands-protest-in-moscow-russia-in-defiance-of-putin.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

The media speak of tens of thousands, which would make these protests the largest since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Good to see that democracy isn't entirely dead, but whether this protests go anywhere is questionable. Putin seems to me to be a more clever person than the dictators toppled earlier this year. My guess is that he is trying to play it calm and let the weather deal with the protesters. However, tens of thousands of security forces have been deployed and many protesters arrested, such a situation can escalate quickly.

Meanwhile some officials try to portray the protesters as lackeys of an US conspiracy which might bring about another collapse like the one which happened 20 years ago. While it makes sesne to appeal to anti-western fear and especially the bad memories of the chaotic time following the collapse of the SU the irony of these statements is probably lost on those who make them.




Commissar MercZ

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#9 7 years ago

I wanted to see what activity would emerge in the weekend to make sure this was not simply a case of the liberal opposition crying foul and certain media lining up behind it. It is good if they can incorporate people beyond the scope of the party that we've usually seen in opposition rallies in the past. The reported size of these demonstrations, even by the police/official counts, makes it probably the most significant since the 1993 riots against the Yeltsin government and like Mr FP said since 1991.

We must be aware though that like any other event though there'll always be a spin. While Putin's claims of these things solely being an instigation of foreign powers is idiotic, we've seen some instances (in the States at least) of some media shows for the sake of news with these events. Fox News for example, for what ever reason even with all these other videos floating around, chose to use footage of riots in Greece and knew their viewers probalby wouldn't know the difference.

Fox News Made Moscow Riots Look Riotier with Athens Footage - Business - The Atlantic Wire

Fox ended up taking down the video but you can see it at that link.

On the topic of videos, here're some other (authentic) ones. Some are from closer to election dates, other from the demonstrations more recently.

Pictures of Anarchists, Communist breakoffs, and even some Pirate Party fellows in the recent demo

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AgTIM6cCQAAhJWW.jpg468995458.jpgx2_9c0a8fb

Al Jazeera video and interview with some demonstrators