#Report
Duma elections. by George Shuklin, CC BY-SA 2.5

Voting Day 1: A Brief Overview

This is a brief overview of the election observation findings on the First Voting Day by the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"'.

Main trends of the day:

1. Gaining the national scale, forced voting became the main problem of the first voting day on 17 September. On early morning of Friday, a weekday, some polling stations saw huge crowds in many regions. It took hours for commissions to cope with the influx of voters in some cases.

2. Fraud reports came from many regions throughout the day, largely associated with massive home voting. In combination with multi-day voting and obstructing observers, this is a traditional challenge to election transparency. Such notifications are particularly characteristic of the most fraudulent regions, such as Moscow Oblast, Krasnodarskiy Krai, Tatarstan, and Saint Petersburg. However, alarming signals also started to arrive from other regions, which used to be seen as the ones with relatively fair vote, such as Moscow.

3. Pushback against observers is coming back to pre-2016 heights. Again, they face physical opposition, expulsions from polling station, and confrontation with the electoral commissions. The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Russia is losing remains of control over entire regions, where electoral commissions play their own game. Moscow Oblast was the most problematic in this regard on Day I.

Coercion to vote

Long before the voting, Golos started receiving numerous messages from people whom employers forced to vote. First messages came from various regions as early as in the beginning of June. In total, Golos has received 247 messages about pressure, coercion, bribing, and bussing, from 52 regions of Russia.

VTsIOM1 confirmed the scale of coercion. Commissioned by Kremlin-affiliated Expert Institute of Social Research, findings of its pre-election survey of factory employees were published on 8 September (according to Rosstat2, the manufacturing industry employs about 19 million people). 48% factory workers answered that they had faced some illegal coercion by employers, unrelated to labour relations, which is about 9 million, or 17% of the turnout at the 2016 State Duma election. However, manufacturing industry is not exceptional, since such practices exist virtually everywhere, covering both public and private sectors.

The first voting day on 17 September confirmed this, as notifications about violations of secrecy of vote and control over voter participation came from 34 regions of Russia.

Photo and video testimonials from polling stations are impressive, showing hundreds of voters queuing in line in the early morning of a weekday in some polling stations. The CEC Chair Ella Pamfilova had to comment: 'We saw lines at some polling stations in the morning, and no social distancing. It is unacceptable,' she stated at the CEC Information Centre. For example, the head of Krasnoyarsk Krai electoral commission Alexey Podushkin had to drive polling station to polling station in person to ask (in vain) the crowds to go away and to vote anytime later. In parallel, members of the Public Chamber of Krasnoyarskiy Krai referred to information about crowded polling stations as "fake news".

Early morning brought crowds to vote in various districts of Novosibirsk and neighbouring town of Berdsk (e.g. polling stations #1796, #2008, and #1335).

Full-house polling stations were also noted in Irkutsk, Novgorod, Saint-Petersburg, Krasnoyarskiy Krai, Primorskiy Krai, Mordovia, Ryazan Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, Kurgan Oblast, Chuvashia, Krasnodarskiy Krai, and many other regions. In Altaiskiy Krai, e.g. Barnaul, lines of eager voters stayed at some polling stations for more than three hours.

 

Sverdlovsk Oblast used QR codes to monitor the turnout of public sector employees, a technological practice in place since previous elections.

In a recorded conversation on an official video stream, a chairperson of PEC#436 in Vladimir, Natalya Shadrina, complained on a phone that they 'were played off against each other.' In her words, it is not feasible for the commission to serve 1,000 voters in one day; she asked someone to 'send them in parts over the three days'.

Notably, the multi-day voting was introduced on a pretext to reduce the concentration of voters amidst the pandemic. However, it ended up as an effective tool for administrative coercion of voters on a working day, resulting in crowds.

Free voting is about expressing a voter's will without any illegal pressure. Pressing someone to vote or refrain from voting, or preventing someone from free expression of will, is criminally punishable according to Article 3.3 of the Federal Law #63 on Main Guarantees of Electoral Rights.

Large-scale violations during home (mobile) voting

Three-day voting created artificial challenges for the public oversight of the election transparency. Massive-scale home voting came as another uneasy task in some regions.

Golos received 190 messages on 17 September about mobile voting-related violations from observers and voters in 27 regions, mostly from Moscow (51 notifications), Krasnodarskiy Krai (33) and Moscow Oblast (20).

In particular, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) observers in Krasnodar reported that they had evidence of some voters being added to the home voting list without applying for it. It resulted in a cancellation of an entire list of 70 persons at polling station #2003. Observers at polling station #3901 in Veselaya stanitsa of Pavlovskaya Rayon saw a home voting list including 2,022 voters, almost the entire precinct. This might be the record high level of home-voters. At polling station #1222, the list included 1,192 persons.

Yekaterina Kiltau, Altaiskiy Krai coordinator of Golos, reported that precinct commissions added large numbers of voters on home voting list. Having about 600 voters each, both PECs #595 and #598 have about 100 voters to vote from home. Lists are drafted with obvious violations. At polling station #82, the commission responded they did not have a list of home-voters; their plan allegedly was 'to phone people throughout the day and compose a list in the afternoon'.

Stuffing and carousels

Predictably, some identified falsifications were associated with home voting. Neat piles of ballots were visible in mobile ballot boxes when the commissions came back from home voting in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Tambov, and Kushchevskaya stanitsa of Krasnodarskiy Krai.

In total, 37 notifications of possible stuffing and other kinds of fraud came from nine regions of Russia during the first voting day (14 from Saint Petersburg, 8 from Moscow, 3 from Krasnodarskiy Krai, Samara Oblast, Moscow Oblast, and Tatarstan, each, and 1 from oblasts of Tambov and Ryazan, and Bashkortostan, each). For example, polling station #3667 in Balashikha, Moscow region, was engaged in stuffing practices almost throughout the day. In the end, the commission's work was stopped, and police arrested a commission member who would issue several ballots per person.

'Carousel' practice was suspected at polling station #2017 in Krasnodar. A group of fit young men voted once and tried to do it again an hour later. According to an observer, a commission member willingly issued them ballots, while the police remained indifferent.

Observers saw the same people attending different polling stations in central Petersburg, PEC #2234 and 2242.

The reaction of higher-ranking electoral commissions to such scandals deserves a special mention. Saint Petersburg City Electoral Commission made every effort to justify a pre-school employee, a subordinate of a chairperson of PEC#2189, who had been caught with a pile of ballots and tried to escape. At PEC#1615, observers prevented a young man from casting eight ballots instead of four. The stuffer admitted guilt. A pile of sheets was visible in the box of polling station #1809.

Obstructing commission members, observers, and media

Infringements on rights of observers, commission members and media are unfortunately a traditional problem. Under the previous CEC of Russia, this problem was not so pronounced for some years; however, it is returning to the rank of the most common during the recent two years.

Golos received 244 such notifications from 36 regions, with Moscow Oblast in the lead (52), followed by Saint Petersburg (40), Moscow (36), Krasnodarskiy Krai (24), and Tatarstan (14).

Along with denying observers and commission members access to polling stations and attempts at restricting their rights, the most recent years have revitalised the problem of physical pressure against them. In particular, Yabloko reported arrest of their observer coordinator in Krasnodarskiy Krai, Alipat Sultanbegova, who was subsequently brought to the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Interior in Krasnodar City. In the same region, Rostislav Shcherbakov, a proxy of a CPRF State Duma candidate Dmitry Kolomiyets, was attacked in Anapa while leaving the building of PECs #0209/0210 and getting in the car. Someone sprayed gas on his face and gave him several liver punches.

Moscow region is particularly outstanding this year. Police expelled an observer from polling station #1173 in Krasnogorsk because he allegedly 'obstructed the election'. In Odintsovo, an observer was expelled after the end of voting. In the same region, a commission member with a consultative vote in Lytkarino received threats, while another commissioner in Kotelniki was offered a bribe to leave the polling station. In Shchelkovo, men wearing sport clothes kept observers out of a polling station.

Notably, multi-day voting stands behind many issues in relations with observers. It made the procedures much more complicated and caused confusion and nervousness in many commission members (and many observers, alike).

General statistics

Golos runs short-term observation in 51 regions and at polling stations outside Russia. Elections are monitored to check compliance with general standards of free voting. The effort draws on data coming from participants and administrators of the polls, observers, and media representatives. Information is collected via multiple channels, including hotline 8 800 333-33-50, the 'Map of Violations', media, social media, and messengers.

On 17 September, the first day of voting, Golos received 1,261 notifications by the hotline (in total, operators spent 39 hours and 58 minutes on phone), and 1,020 via the Map of Violations and other online tools.

The top-5 of regions by the number of notifications about alleged violations on 17 September, the first voting day:

  1. Moscow City — 208
  2. Moscow Oblast — 146
  3. Saint Petersburg — 120
  4. Krasnodarskiy Krai — 73
  5. Samara Oblast — 50

References:

1 Russian Public Opinion Research Centre - REM

2 Federal State Statistics Service - REM

CPRF rally in Moscow, 2011. Photo by Wikimedia

The Communist Party received 19% of the votes in the last elections to the State Duma. After that, the party's supporters faced unprecedented pressure for the 'systemic opposition.' They were detained, fined, sentenced to administrative arrests, and blocked in the party premises. CPRF continues to challenge the election results and demand an investigation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Russian State Duma raises retirement age. Image by Wikimedia

On Tuesday, October 12, the new convocation of Russia's State Duma convened for its first session. Roughly a fifth of all lawmakers — 88 of 450 deputies — received their seats from higher-ranked candidates on party lists, winning the jobs because others didn't want them.

Election observation headquarters. Photo by Golos

Statement of the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"' on inclusion of its members into the Foreign Agents Registry, October 5, 2021.

Map of Violations, Screenshot Oct. 8, 2021

In total, from the beginning of voting dated September 17, 'Map of Violations' by the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"' published 4592 reports. The Map is a project that collects information about possible electoral violations using the principle of crowdsourcing – observers, voters, members of commissions may report alleged violations witnessed during the electoral campaigning or voting using a submission form on the website or a telephone hotline.

REV-2021. By Nackepelo

The "remote electronic voting" or online voting held in the Russian capital during the September 17-19, 2021 elections was scandalous, to say the least. In response, two groups have been formed by the Russian public to scrutinize the results.

Regions by level of electoral fraud
#Analysis

In order to help assess the outcomes of 2021 State Duma elections, the 'Movement in the Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"' provides a reference analysis, dividing Russian regions into six groups based on the level of falsifications in the federal elections of 2016 and 2018 and in the all-Russian voting in 2020.

#Commentary

A scandal in the capital: lengthy vote tabulation, a radical overhaul of the whole election results, and shut down of the observers' node.

"We don't trust Churov - we trust Gauss". Image by Golos
#Analysis

Sergey Shpilkin analyzes data from 96,840 polling stations that cover 107.9 million registered voters out of 109.2 million on the list. His analysis demonstrates that at the polling stations where the results appear genuine, the turnout is on average 38% and the United Russia's share of votes is between 31% and 33%.

Voting. By Photobank Moscow-Live
#Report

This is a preliminary statement on findings of observation on the main voting day, September 19, 2021, by the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos".' Golos ran long-term and short-term observation of all stages of the campaign. In the course of the elections, the united call center's hotline received 5,943 calls. The 'Map of Violations' received 4,973 reports of alleged violations by noon 20 September, Moscow time, including 3,787 on the voting days.

Voting. Image by Photobank Moscow-Live. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Voting. Image by Photobank Moscow-Live
#Report

This is a brief overview of election monitoring findings on the Second Voting Day, September 18, 2021 by citizen observers of the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"'.

Duma elections. by George Shuklin, CC BY-SA 2.5
#Report

This is a brief overview of election monitoring findings on the First Voting Day by citizen observers of the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"'.

Campaigning in Samara. 2011 elections. Image by Golos
#Report

The September 19, 2021 elections are marked by growing pressure on media and individual journalists, attempts at blocking information about "Smart Voting", and massive coercion of voters to vote and register for e-voting and mobile voting. In parallel, social media has been growing in importance for years as a space of more freedom and an alternative information channel. Here are the main findings of the report that focuses on the impact of these two antipodal trends.

Victor Vasnetsov. Three bogatyrs (Medieval Russian Heroes). Photo by flickr user paukrus
#Report

This report covers the monitoring of social networks from the 10th to the 11th week of the election campaign (August 23 to September 5) to the Russian State Duma, scheduled for September 19, 2021.

Russian passports. Image by MediaPhoto.Org, CC-BY-3.0
#Analysis

One aspect of the 2021 Russian parliamentary elections that differentiates them from previous federal elections is the potential participation in the voting process of dozens of thousands of people located on the Ukrainian territories outside of control of the Ukrainian authorities and not recognized as part of Russia by the Russian Federation itself.

Map of Violations Update Sept 6-12. Image by REM
#Report

This is the seventh overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the 'Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos"' between September 6 and September 12. Since the beginning of the election campaign, 945 messages from 72 regions have been published on the Map.

Poll worker displaying an empty ballot box before the opening of a polling station in Moscow, 18.03.2018. Photo OSCA PA, CC BY-SA 2.0
#Analysis

The de facto impossibility to participate in elections for parties that must register candidates via signature collection turns their existence into a mere formality. This creates a vicious circle in which the system reproduces itself by welcoming only actors that are already 'in' and effectively barring new political players from elections.

Map of Violations Update - Aug 30-Sept 1
#Report

This is the sixth overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' between August 30 and September 5. In total, from August 30 to September 1, 125 messages have been received by the Map.

Social media. Image by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay
#Report

This report covers the monitoring of social networks from the 5th to the 9th week (July 20 - August 22) of the election campaign to the Russian State Duma, scheduled for September 19, 2021.

Vladimir Putin on XVII congress of United Russia in 2017. Image by Wikimedia Commons
#Analysis

Despite its dismal approval rating, Russian President Vladimir Putin's ruling political party can – and likely will – win a constitutional majority in September's legislative elections.

Map of Violations, Golos website. Screenshot - Sept. 1, 2021
#Report

This is the fifth overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' between August 23 and August 29. In total, 100 messages have been received by the Map during this period.

2019 Rally for right to vote in Moscow. Image by Wikimedia Commons

The Moscow City Court has designated the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Alexey Navalny's Headquarters and the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation as 'extremist' organizations. Inter alia, it implies the prohibition to participate in elections.

The authorities have proceeded to banning pro-opposition candidates from running to the State Duma and other legislative bodies on a pretext of involvement in Navalny's projects.

State Duma elections in Sochi, Dec 4. 2011. Image by flickr/Andrew Amerikov
#Report

The elections of the State Duma of Russia of the eighth convocation are marked by considerable tightening of rules for candidate nomination and registration. In fact, the rules are much worse than in 2016, when the current membership of the parliament was elected. Run on the background of harsh restrictions on freedom of expression and information and freedom of assembly and association, the elections are accompanied by a political crackdown against the most active pro-opposition citizens.

Map of Violations, Golos website. Screenshot - Aug. 20, 2021
#Report

This is the fourth overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the Movement for the Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' between August 16 and August 22. In total, 98 messages have been received by the Map in that period.

Behind a camera. Photo by Bicanski on Pixnio
#Report

Equality of rights of candidates in media coverage of their election campaign is one of the most important conditions for holding free and democratic elections. For a significant part of Russians, television remains to be one of the main sources of information. During the election campaign, the influence of television in shaping the attitude of the majority of voters towards elections and candidates is often decisive. Here is a summary of monitoring findings for the five main federal television channels during the first eight weeks of the campaign.

Map of Violations, Golos website. Screenshot - Aug. 20, 2021
#Report

This is the third overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the Movement for the Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' between August 9 and August 15. Since the beginning of the election campaign, 452 messages from 62 regions have been published on the Map.

 

Screenshot of Golos' statement cover image

On August 18, the Ministry of Justice of Russia included the Movement 'Golos' as the first unregistered organisation into the registry of unregistered public associations performing the functions of a foreign agent. Here is the translation of their statement.

Russian regional elections in 2018. Image by Wikimedia Commons
#Report

According to the CEC data as of 9 July 2021, 4,370 elections and referenda are scheduled for 19 September 2021, including elections to the State Duma, nine gubernatorial elections (new heads will be elected in three more regions), 39 elections to regional parliaments, and 11 elections of representative bodies of regional centres. Here's an overview of legal regulations and peculiarities of these races.

Participants of Just Russia rally take off their uniforms 5 minutes after the start of the Yekaterinburg rally on May 1, 2019. Image by Wikimedia Commons
#Analysis

PART 4: JUST RUSSIA-PATRIOTS-FOR TRUTH

According to sociologists, the same four parties represented in the parliament now: United Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Just Russia will probably be elected again in 2021. How are these four parties organized? What is their support base in regions?

A screenshot of a live broadcast of the voting process. Image by 'Golos' Movement.

In 2021, the Russian Central Election Commission decided to scrap open video broadcasts from the polling stations – a feature of Russian elections since 2012. The Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' has appealed to the President to help overturn this decision.

Map of Violations, Golos website. Screenshot - Aug. 12, 2021
#Report

This is the second overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the Movement for the Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' between August 2 and August 8.

May 1st, 2009. LDPR Rally. Photo by Photobank Moscow-Live / flickr
#Analysis

PART 3: LDPR

According to sociologists, the same four parties represented in the parliament now: United Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Just Russia will probably be elected again in 2021. How are these four parties organized? What is their support base in regions?

The Rt. Hon. Sir Alan Duncan represented the UK at the 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg, Germany, 8-9 December 2016.
OSCE Flags. Photo by Alex Hammond / FCO. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
#Commentary

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Parliamentary Assembly will not deploy international election observation missions to the 2021 State Duma elections due to major limitations imposed on the institutions. Announcing the decision, ODIHR Director noted that the ability "to independently determine the number of observers necessary for us to observe effectively and credibly is essential to all international observation."

Reporter's notebook. Photo by 2008 Roger H. Goun. CC BY 3.0
#Commentary

On 28 July 2021, the Central Election Commission adopted a new media accreditation procedure that restricts media access to observe and report on the electoral process. The new rules violate the freedom of media editorial policy and may significantly reduce the transparency of the election process.

Map of Violations, Golos website. Screenshot - Aug. 5, 2021
#Report

This is the first overview of reports of possible violations of electoral legislation gathered via the 'Map of Violations' by the Movement for the Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos' between June 22 and August 1.

May 1st Demonstration of the Communist Party, 2012. Photo by Photobank Moscow-Live / flickr
#Analysis

PART 2: CPRF

According to sociologists, the same four parties represented in the parliament now: United Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Just Russia will probably be elected again in 2021. How are these four parties organized? What is their support base in regions?

Ballot stuffing, elections March 18, 2018, Lyubertsy. Image - Golos
#Commentary

Less than two months before the elections, the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) decided to scrap open video broadcasts from the polling stations, which have been the feature of Russian elections since 2012.

1st of May Demonstration in Moscow. 2010. Image - Photobank Moscow-Live / flickr
#Analysis

PART 1: United Russia

According to sociologists, the same four parties represented in the parliament now: United Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Just Russia will probably be elected again in 2021. How are these four parties organized? What is their support base in regions?

Ballot box for voting on Constitutional Amendments 2020. Photo - Wikimedia Commons
#Report

Since the last State Duma elections in 2016, lawmakers have introduced 19 amendments to the election law. In the year leading up to the State Duma elections in September 2021 alone, seven significant legislative amendments have been introduced, six of them in less than four months before the start of the campaign.

TV reporter, Bryansk. Photo - pxfuel
#Analysis

After almost a decade of crackdowns on big players, the landscape of critical journalism in Russia is dominated by local or smaller niche projects. But if the 2020-2021 trend of relentless attacks on media, journalists, and bloggers continues, many of these small projects are not likely to survive into the autumn. The regime makes it pretty clear that it no longer intends to tolerate any dissent.

"1941- ssshhh!" - Image by James Vaughan / flickr

The laws on "foreign agent" and "undesirable organizations" continue to hamper the work of affected organizations, stigmatize and damage their reputation, and isolate the civil society from international cooperation and support. What are these provisions and how are they being applied?

Vladimir Putin Speech at State Duma plenary session 2020-03-10. Image - Wikimedia Commons

The Russian State Duma's seventh convocation is coming to the end of its five-year term. And according to a new report from iStories and Znak.com, dozens of its deputies haven't said a word in a parliamentary session since they were elected in 2016. Others haven't put forward a single bill. Be that as it may, this hasn't stopped these lawmakers from collecting high salaries and planning to put their names on the ballot for the State Duma election coming up in September.

Kaluga. A Holiday. Image - flickr
#Analysis

During the United Russia primaries, experts detected possible falsification of the results and instances of interference in the electronic voting process. According to some analyses, 99% of votes for the first 22 candidates on the United Russia party list were falsified while the amount of falsified votes for candidates in single-mandate constituencies reached 80-95% of the votes cast.

Arrest by the police. Image - Wikimedia Commons
#Report

According to election observers, recent amendments further limiting citizens' passive suffrage constitute a "fifth wave" of depriving Russians of their right to stand for election since the collapse of the USSR. New restrictions have a particular impact on politically active citizens.

Programming, computing and information concept. Image - Peshkova, Getty Images Pro
#Report

In May, the Russian Federation has tested a new system of remote electronic voting. The Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights "Golos" observed the testing phase, took part in the voting, and shared their conclusions and recommendations in a respective report.

"I have the right to choose!" Photo - EPDE.
#Analysis

Opportunities for independent citizen election observation and civil society space in general have been shrinking steadily in Russia over the past decade. Recently, further restrictions have been adopted that limit the ability of citizens to independently monitor electoral processes.

May 1st Demonstration of the Communist Party, 2012. Image by _TMY2892/flickr
#Analysis

Over the past 14 years, the authorities have blocked 120,000 candidates from participating in elections of various levels, depriving millions of Russian citizens of the right to choose their representatives.

A demonstration in Moscow. Image - by Andrey, Pxhere.

Russia has finally outlawed Alexey Navalny's political and anti-corruption movement. Here's how the crackdown affects activists, journalists, and ordinary supporters.

Plenary meeting of the State Duma. Image - Wikimedia Commons
#Commentary

The President of Russia approved the law prohibiting those who are "involved" in the activities of an extremist organization from running in elections.

Electoral headquarters of Alexey Navalny. Photo - Wikimedia Commons
#Analysis

On June 9, the Moscow City Court, based on the charges by the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, recognized the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), the Foundation for the Protection of Citizens' Rights, and the headquarters of Alexei Navalny as extremist organizations. Now, many citizens are under a threat of pressure and persecution.

Vladimir Putin at the United Russia Congress (2011-11-27). Image - Wikimedia Commons
#Analysis

Between May 24 and 30, United Russia held its preliminary selection of candidates for 2021 State Duma elections. Nearly 12 million citizens participated in the party's primaries. Yet, a more careful examination shows an increasingly controlled and non-transparent process, aimed at having the public formally 'endorse' a carefully vetted list of pre-selected candidates.

Meeting of Central Election Commission Chair Ella Pamfilova with OSCE / ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci. Photo - CEC
#Report

Between 2003 and 2018, OSCE/ODIHR published 139 recommendations on how to improve the conduct of elections in Russia. In the run-up to the State Duma elections in 2021, Russia has fully implemented just over 10% of them. Some have been tackled more promptly than others.

Man using computers. Photo by: Lisa Fotios from Pexels
#Analysis

Ahead of the State Duma election on September 19, 2021, Russia just tested its remote electronic voting system. While the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation (CEC) is preparing the report about the results of the test, election monitors say Russia's electronic voting system is a black box.

Alexei Navalny. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
#Analysis

The Russian authorities are expected to orchestrate a result in the upcoming State Duma elections that will give United Russia a clear majority of seats. This does not mean, however, that the manipulation of the electoral process by the authorities is complete. In a limited number of competitive districts, true opposition candidates including candidates who are associated with Aleksei Navalny have a real chance of winning if they are allowed to run. In recent weeks, steps have been taken to block these 'undesirable' candidates from participating.

Central Election Commission (CEC) of Russian Federation during April 21, 2021, meeting. Photo by: CEC.
#Commentary

On March 19, 2021, the new composition of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation was revealed. Out of 15 members, eight new people joined the CEC. In particular, the new Commission has been 'reinforced' by bureaucrats from the Presidential Administration, the State Duma, and the Civic Chamber (a consultative civil society institution closely linked to the government).