By: Anna Malinovskaya
Russian newspaper Sobesednik has called Russia’s recent parliament elections “the dirtiest in Russia’s history.”
German media company Deutsche Welle released an article titled “Independent observers: these are the dirtiest elections over the last decade.”
Independent observers from Deutsche Welle, registered many violations during the elections of December 4th.
One of such violations they noticed was that officials refused to show empty ballot boxes to independent observers, which is clearly against the law and made falsification easily possible.
Observers from the association of nonprofits protecting voters’ rights, “Golos”, said they saw buses that took people from one voting center to another so that the same people could vote more than once.
In one of the voting centers in Moscow, observers found a pile of ballots already filled out to have been thrown into the ballot box. In most such cases, the police asked independent observers to leave the voting center.
Almost none of the violations resulted in any adequate response from the police or the Central Election Commission.
In December of last year, one of my professors told me she had listened to national radio that morning and heard about a students’ protest against unfair elections in my home town Khabarovsk. Here’s a video of that protest which its participants named “My voice has been stolen.”
It is clear from the video that the protest documented was a peaceful demonstration of college students. Nevertheless, policemen grabbed random people from the crowd and forced them to get on the bus which, after having been filled, rode to the local police department.
This video from the protest in Khabarovsk also features a reporter from the federal tevelvision channel ,The First Channel, being arrested and taken away by the police. Russia’s federal law “The law about mass media” states in article 3 that “Censorship of mass media … is prohibited” and in article 25 that “Interfering of state officials … into dissemination of mass media products is prohibited.” Article 25 proclaims that “A reporter has the right to search, ask for, receive and disseminate information” and “to attend … places of mass protests and demonstrations.” Obviously, the reporter’s rights were violated as recorded in the video.
Other video clips from protests against unfair elections in Russian cities:
The crowd asks the police officer why a young man has been arrested
People shout “We want new elections!”
4. Nizhniy Novgorod
People shout “New elections!” “We don’t want a party of bandits and thieves!”
5. Saint Petersburg
People shout “Freedom to political prisoners!”
One woman says: “Because they have stolen my voice in elections, that’s why I have come here. I have come to stand up for my interests. We need fair elections and a fair country so that the government serves its people not the vise versa.”
People shout “Police be with people, don’t serve the bandits.” The police arrest the man who was the first to shout out this slogan. Someone says that 31st article of the Constitution allows people to get together for a peaceful demonstration.
The man says: “Don’t give the police a reason to arrest you because that’s what they are waiting for. They have been going to dormitories the whole day today asking people not to come here. They said they will let people in to movie theaters and art galleries for free. They want us to be 20 or 30 people here but I think there are about 500 of us here now.”
The voice in the video:
Are you disappointed?
Are we sheep?
We are people and we demand our rights. We demand that all Central Election Commission officials resign. We want new elections to State Duma ….Russiawithout Putin!”