Copyright Ilya Yashin (Solidarnost)

Today Vladimir Putin will for a third time take office as Russian president. At the same time he is facing protests against his command over political affairs in Russia.

“Police on Sunday used batons and charging tactics to break up an anti-Putin rally in the centre of Moscow which had been sanctioned by the authorities but had descended into chaos,” reported British The Telegraph. The opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on his home page nemtsov.ru wrote that “according to the Interior Ministry in Moscow 436 people were arrested”, though the opposition claims that the list is much longer: about 650 detainees. Three key leaders of the protest movement were arrested: anti-corruption campaigner and blogger Alexei Navalny, liberal politician Boris Nemtsov and left-wing leader Sergei Udaltsov. Nemtsov was released after being sentenced to pay a fine. The other two opposition leaders are still imprisoned. (more…)

Yesterday, on Sunday of March 4, 2012, Vladimir Putin, currently Russia’s prime-minister, declared his victory in the Russian presidential elections; the victory that was overshadowed by widespread reports of vote-rigging, ballot fraud and other violations during the electoral process across the country. The Central Election Commission announced that with around 25 % of the ballots counted preliminary results indicated that Vladimir Putin won the elections with slightly more than 63 % of the votes, which was predicted by exit polls almost the moment polls closed. (more…)

On March 4, Russia will hold presidential elections. “The whole setting is undemocratic” writes Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute in Washington DC: Many individual candidates have been refused registration on bogus grounds. Two million signatures are required for individual candidates to be allowed to run. Previously, such candidates have been disqualified despite having collected two million signatures. The government maintains media control. “These elections cannot be judged as legitimate” writes Anders Åslund.

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EPP Condemns Russian Elections

December 9th, 2011   Articles | News | Russia

Walburga Habsburg Douglas, Chairman of the EPP and likminded groups in the OSCE PA, presented the resolution.

The European People’s Party (EPP) calls upon the European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe to declare the State Duma elections in Russia, on 4th December 2011, as non-free and not meeting some OSCE commitments on generally accepted democratic standards. The mass arrests follwing the elections are also critiziced.

In a statement dated December 8, 2011, the EPP calls upon the European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe to monitor the presidential elections in Russia [ March 4, 2012] carefully.

The EPP points to the fact that the Russian authorities persistently refused  “to register new political parties under the pretext of various technical formalities”.

The EPP declares that Russian authorities must “stop non-compliance with their obligations in the sphere of human rights and democracy under the framework of the OSCE and CoE, changing the rules and practices of the process of registering political parties, in order to provide for unimpeded access for political forces to the presidential elections of 2012”.

Read the EPP resolution about the Russian elections

The European People’s Party (EPP) calls upon the European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe to declare the State Duma elections in Russia, on 4th December 2011, as non-free and not meeting some OSCE commitments on generally accepted democratic standards. The mass arrests follwing the elections are also critiziced.

In a statement dated December 8, 2011, the EPP calls upon the European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe to monitor the presidential elections in Russia [ March 4, 2012] carefully. The EPP declares that Russian authorities must “stop non-compliance with their obligations in the sphere of human rights and democracy under the framework of the OSCE and CoE, changing the rules and practices of the process of registering political parties, in order to provide for unimpeded access for political forces to the presidential elections of 2012”.

Read the EPP resolution about the Russian elections

From left Ulrik Nilsson, Elisabeth Björnsdotter Rahm, Stefan Caplan och Margareta Cederfelt.

Opportunities for electoral fraud were definitely present, said four moderate MPs who visited Russia during the Duma elections on December 4. On Thursday the team shared their experiences and analysis at a breakfast seminar arranged by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation.

In particular, the election observers pointed out, there were ample opportunities to cheat during the so-called mobile voting (for elderly at home) and at the many unattended ballot boxes in the more than 90,000 polling stations around the country. Ulrik Nilsson mentioned electoral lists where United Russia had beforehand been marked with a cross. Stefan Caplan noted that at some of the polling stations, he visited, there were more ballots than voters, after polling closed!

“United Russia’s grip of the Russian soul is decreasing significantly”, said Ulrik Nilsson at the breakfast seminar when he was asked about what the election results might lead to.

He and other observers gave the audience a unique insight into what happened in a number of the many polling stations. The images showed flaws in the system which allows for cheating and fraud.

Lack of valsekretess was also something that many of the observers noted. How ballots reviewed by election officials (all have a ballot where you check for the party you vote for) and how many people voted together. (more…)

Protests and Arrests in Russia

December 7th, 2011   Articles | Russia

For the past few days thousands of people have gathered to demonstrate against the result of the Duma elections in Russia on December 4.  At least 15 000 people gathered in the city centre of Moscow on Monday, December 5; yesterday on Tuesday, December 6, thousands of people gathered not only in Moscow but also in St. Petersburg, as well as in some other large cities; all this makes it the first mass opposition protest in Russia since 1993.

Opposition supporters shouted “Putin is a crook and thief” referring both to the alleged election fraud and to widespread complaints that United Russia party is one of the major reasons for Russia’s widespread corruption. They also shouted “Russia without Putin” in a tense stand-off with hundreds of pro-Kremlin youth Nashi (Ours) and young men with emblems of United Russia’s youth wing (the Young Guards). More than 550 people were detained in the capital on Tuesday evening. About 250 people who tried to hold an unsanctioned rally were arrested in St. Petersburg. Another 25 protesters are said to have been detained at a similar protest in the city of Rostov-na-Donu. (more…)

On December 4 voting to elect the State Duma of the Russian Federation took place. Facing the collapse of public confidence and support, the ruling group was forced to organize the most dirty and fraudulent elections in the post-Soviet history. Campaign and the voting itself were accompanied by an unprecedented level of violations and abuses by the authorities. Manipulations of the public opinion, pressure on citizens, independent observers and members of election commissions, buying and rigging votes were undertaken at a scale unseen before.

There were no free access to these elections of the political forces. A number of them (including our Party) were on the non-constitutional grounds denied registration, and thus – the opportunity to take part in elections, to formulate its program of resolving the current political crisis and to uphold it before the citizens. (more…)

Author: Oleg Buklemishev. Published 2011.

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After a long rest, alternating between publicity stunts and foreign trips representing Gazprom, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has suddenly woken up with the announcement about his renewed presidential ambitions and several substantial policy statements.

Putin’s speech to the United Russia convention on Sept. 24 was downright populist. His discussion at a VTB Capital conference on Oct. 6 offered an uncommonly serious policy line. A Russian television interview on Oct. 17 rested somewhere in between. In discerning solid policy from propaganda, a rather clear policy emerges.

Putin has evolved the most on the World Trade Organization. He pursued Russia’s accession vigorously from 2000 to 2003, but during Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency he has impeded Russia’s entry. Now, he has sorted out this struggle with himself. He answers the question about whether WTO accession is good or bad for Russia. “I will say it’s 50-50, but overall there are probably more pluses than minuses for Russia,” he said at the VTB conference. “We are not abandoning this goal, and we are ready to join the WTO in full, but we will do so only if they don’t set unacceptable terms for Russia.”

Read the full article in Moscow Times