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Interfax Reports Further Examples Of Election Law Violations In Russian Regions

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On 4 December 2011, Duma election day, the Russian news agency Interfax quoted further reports of cases where the law on elections was thought to have been broken.

In one report, Anton Belyakov, Duma deputy for A Just Russia, told Interfax about an incident at a polling place near the city of Vladimir. When he, opposition observers and electoral commission members arrived there, the polling stations - numbers 452 and 453, on different floors of the same building - were closed. "We noticed that next to the polling places there were a few buses, with not less than 400 students in them. The students told us that their passports and absentee ballots had been taken away, while they themselves had to wait outside, in the buses," according to Belyakov. When, after a couple of hours and attempts in vain to enter the premises, their doors opened, they were told that the vote had already taken place. There was, however, no procedural proof of any kind - "just a ballot box that was full up", he said. Action will be taken to invalidate the elections there, Belyakov added.

In his version of events - which was Interfax's headline - the mayor of Vladimir, Sergey Sakharov, said that a group of 40-50 people led by Belyakov, some of them "masked", had "stormed" the premises, at the Ladoga tourist centre.


Interfax also quoted reports of irregularities from other regions, "mostly attempts at ballot stuffing and 'carousel' voting". The latter means the same people voting more than once - at more than one location - using absentee ballots.

According to the report, Moscow City Electoral Commission chairman Valentin Gorbunov told a news conference that most violations were associated with attempts at ballot stuffing.

Meanwhile, the press service of pro-democracy Yabloko told Interfax that it had reports of hundreds of violations - 574 as of 1500 hours Moscow time - in several regions, where it has its observers. "Compared to the previous election, the number of violations has increased," Yabloko leader Sergey Mitrokhin told a news briefing in Moscow. "I don't yet know why - whether the zeal is greater, or there is now more information because there are more observers," he added.

Regionally, there were also reports - from the regional Communists - that people were being bussed around, from one end of the city of Ulyanovsk to the other, to vote using absentee ballots; and from Bryansk Region, where according to Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia there were cases when alcohol was offered to people before they voted - to "encourage a vote in favour of a particular party", in the city of Bryansk and the town of Klintsy.

Local TV station reports violations in Urals city

Voters with absentee ballots are being taken by buses to polling stations at two shopping centres in central Yekaterinburg, the city's Channel Four TV has reported. The TV channel showed amateur video provided by the independent election monitoring group Golos, whose representatives interviewed the driver of one of the buses who said that he was to make several more journeys to bring women to vote.

Leonid Volkov, a member of the Yekaterinburg city council, said in his blog that the voters who were being taken there in groups of between five and 20 were mainly female public sector workers. He said that the results at the polling stations in question should be annulled.

The Yekaterinburg branch of Golos also said it had spotted a mistake in ballot papers for the Sverdlovsk Region legislative assembly election. According to the profiles of two candidates, One Russia's (United Russia) Eduard Romanovskiy and the Communist Party's Nafik Famiyev, which are printed on the ballot papers, both are commercial directors in the same company. "The error calls into question the legitimacy of the vote," Channel Four's correspondent Maksim Borodin said.

Inquiry in Ufa

In the city of Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, the head of a local electoral commission has been suspended pending the outcome of an inquiry into his alleged attempt at ballot stuffing, deputy chairwoman of the republic's Central Electoral Commission Naylya Altynova told reporters at a news briefing there, according to an earlier report by Interfax.

Russia, Government, Politics, Election - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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