Amid credible reports of election fraud, Russian election results do not fully reflect the will of the people. | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Amid credible reports of election fraud, Russian election results do not fully reflect the will of the people.

Amid credible reports of election fraud, Russian election results do not fully reflect the will of the people.

The tendency in the result of the voting yesterday nevertheless shows that the Russian population is getting wary of the tightfisted rule of the Medvedev/Putin tandem, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland. -Independent national observers all over the country have registered countless violations in the election legislation, including pressure against voters to vote for the ruling party United Russia.

Statement on the Russian Federation Duma Elections 4 December 2011 

Amid credible reports of election fraud, Russian election results do not fully reflect the will of the people.

Oslo, 5 December 2011: The tendency in the result of the voting yesterday nevertheless shows that the Russian population is getting wary of the tightfisted rule of the Medvedev/Putin tandem, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland. -Independent national observers all over the country have registered countless violations in the election legislation, including pressure against voters to vote for the ruling party United Russia.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has been present in St. Petersburg during the last few days, and among others visited our partner Golos. Golos, a non-governmental organization specializing in election monitoring, has registered widespread violations of election legislation and procedures on Election Day, although their websites were blocked since Saturday.

Yesterday’s Duma election in the Russian Federation took place in an environment where fully fair elections are not possible, says Engesland, - Some of the basic conditions for holding elections are public debate, a free press and equal conditions for all political forces in the country. These conditions are challenged in Russia, says Engesland. - We have registered serious obstacles related to nomination of delegates and registration of parties, as well as lack of equal opportunities to campaign. In addition, the threshold of minimum 7% of the vote to enter the Duma appears to have been introduced in order to obstruct the smaller parties in opposition to the ruling forces.”

Meeting with observers, proxies and media representatives outside polling stations in Kirovskiy rayon and Vasilievskiy Rayon, NHC representatives experienced following violations:

- Hindering of observers at the polling stations; access, observation and documentation;

- Pressure against voters to vote;

- Ballot stuffing;

- Fraud with voters’ lists, where people with permanent registration were put into the additional lists, allowing for voting both at the registered address and one or more additional polling stations;

- Creation of temporary polling stations where observers had no access;

- Removal of independent observers and presence of unauthorized personnel during counting;

- Unrest, overcrowding and insufficient conditions for casting ballot in secrecy;

- Insufficient amount of ballots;

Additionally, more than 5300 violations are reported by more than 2700 Golos volunteers all over the country.

Both Golos and political parties like Yabloko have experienced a large growth in the number of people volunteering to observe the elections. At a Yabloko training for new observers in St. Petersburg on Saturday, the NHC monitors met with a variety of people showing an interest in politics for the first time. This trend should be embraced by the authorities of the Russian Federation.

Access for independent monitoring of the election process is an important factor of democratic elections. Last Friday’s trial, and other pressure against Golos and other observers indicated that Russian authorities have not fully understood this. It is important that Russian authorities restore the rights.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee representatives Lene Wetteland and Anders Nielsen are currently in Russia.

Contact information:

Lene Wetteland, Advisor, Mobile: + 47 97697553

Anders Nielsen, Information Advisor, Mobile: + 47 40844709

Berit Lindeman, Head of information, Mobile: +47 90933379