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

The new-old Central Election Commission: an authentic renewal or a superficial touch up?

On March 19, 2021, the new composition of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation was revealed. Three entities take part in the nomination of members to the CEC: the State Duma, the Federation Council and the President of Russia. Each entity appoints five people. However, de facto it is the Presidential Administration that shapes the CEC.

The State Duma and the Federation Council both announced their five appointees back on February 17. The announcement of the five presidential appointees had to wait one more month. It is worth noting that this year the shortlisting of candidates was not transparent at all. The deputies did not hear the candidates, nor did they consider appointees individually. Instead, they voted in batches. Moreover, the appointment was conducted with no competition both in the Federation Council and the State Duma.

According to independent election observers, this new composition, just like the previous ones, will not fulfill the principle of the independence of the CEC from the executive authorities guaranteed by the law. It is also unlikely that the newly elected Central Election Commission would make fateful decisions, which could possibly improve the conduct of the elections in Russia.

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). In addition, among the new members we may find several persons, whose oversight of  elections conducted in their respective regions remains highly questionable. For instance, Elmira Khaimurzina, who has played a dubious role as the Head of the election commission of Moscow region has been included in the new composition, whereas Maya Grishina, a truly experienced member and secretary, who, in particular, was responsible for the methodological segment of the CEC, was removed from the body.

As specified above, the Central Election Commission is represented by 15 people. The CEC is appointed by the upper and lower chambers of Parliament, as well as by the President himself. It stays in force for a period of five years.

In 2021, of the 15 total members, eight new members have joined the CEC:

  • Pavel Andreev (Head of the Federal state institution 'Apparatus of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation')
  • Natalia Budarina (employee of the Presidential Administration, ex-employee of the CEC and Deputy Head of the Department for Legal Support of Electoral Campaigns of the CEC, organized by United Russia party)
  • Alexander Kurdyumov (First Deputy Head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) faction within the State Duma)
  • Konstantin Mazurevsky (Chief of the Apparatus of the United Russia faction within the State Duma)
  • Lyudmila Markina (Oryol Regional Election Commission Chair)
  • Elmira Khaimurzina (Head of the Krasnogorsk District, Secretary of the local branch of United Russia party, curator of government elections in the vicinities of Moscow and former Chair of the Election Commission in Moscow region)
  • Andrey Shutov (Chair of the pro-presidential foundation Expert Institute for Social Research, dean of the Political Science Faculty at the Moscow State University)
  • Igor Borisov (member of the CEC 2007-2011, currently member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights)

From 2017 to 2021 Pavel Andreev headed the apparatus of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. Prior to that, he had served as a diplomat and worked at the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. Andreev spent three years working as an executive director of the Fund for Support and Development of the international discussion club Valdai. Yet nothing specific can be said about his expertise in the field of elections.

Natalia Budarina worked at the Institute for Information Law Issues until 2002. In 2001, she criticized the draft of a new electoral law. From 2002 to 2006 she worked in the legal department of the CEC. She then spent nine years working in the apparatus of the United Russia party, which was later followed by six years of work at the Department of Internal Policy in the Presidential Administration. She is currently the CEC Secretary. Budarina is very knowledgeable of the electoral law, but there are great doubts that she would defend the electoral rights of Russian citizens.

Alexander Kurdyumov has been appointed by the LDPR quota to replace the resigned Sergey Sirotkin. Before entering politics, Kurdyumov served in the internal affairs bodies. Later he was the head of the security service of the academic institute. He started his political career in 1996 as an assistant to a deputy of the State Duma. He worked both as director of the Department for Informatization at the Administration of the Nizhny Novgorod region, and as Deputy Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region during the time when the Governor was a representative of the Communist party. Since 2003, with interruptions, Alexander has been a deputy of the State Duma.

Konstantin Mazurevsky has worked in the Party of Pensioners (created to draw votes away from the Communist party), in the government of the Republic of Tyva (one of the most undemocratic regions of Russia), and as an Advisor to the Prefect of one of the administrative districts of Moscow. Since 2010, his work has been greatly linked to the United Russia party, as he worked within the Department of Electoral Processes and headed the headquarters of the 'Young Guard of the United Russia'. He has ultimately served as Chief of Apparatus of the United Russia faction within the State Duma.

From 2014 to 2021 Lyudmila Markina was the Chair of the Election Commission in Oryol region. Prior to that, she had worked as a Secretary and then as a Deputy Chair of the commission. She had begun her legal career in the internal affairs bodies and later worked as a lawyer in various companies. Before joining the regional election commission, she spent two years working in the office of the Governor. The Oryol region usually stays somewhat in the middle in terms of the level of electoral falsification. The President of Russia has been appointing a representative of the Communist party as the head of the Oryol region since 2014. However, this does not prevent United Russia from dominating the elections in this area.

From 2014 to 2018 Elmira Khaimurzina worked as the Deputy Chair in the Government of Moscow region. When the CEC invited the Governor of Moscow region to include Andrei Buzin (Co-Chair of the independent election observation movement Golos) into the Moscow region election commission, it was Khaimurzina herself who persuaded the governor, in violation of the law, that Buzin was not welcome. In May 2018, Khaimurzina was appointed to the election commission of the Moscow region and was elected its Chair. It was under her leadership that the commission held elections for the position of Governor of the Moscow region, during which massive falsifications were registered. In October 2018, Khaimurzina left the commission and was appointed Head of the urban district of Krasnogorsk (the city where the majority of offices of the Moscow region's government are located). Khaimurzina graduated from the Kaliningrad Border Institute of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. From 2010 to 2012 she worked as the Head of the Regional Executive Committee of the Kaliningrad regional branch of United Russia.

Andrey Shutov is a political scientist and Doctor of historical sciences. He has worked at the Moscow state university for 20 years, heading first the Department of state policy and then the Department of History and theory of politics. He has been the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science of the Moscow State University since 2008. Shutov is the Chair of the Russian Society of Political Scientists (since 2013) and of the Board of Directors of the Expert Institute for Social Research (since 2017). The latter is considered the think tank of the internal political block of the Presidential Administration. In 2018, his faculty was commissioned to develop a draft of the Code on Elections and Referenda. This work was presided over by Shutov himself. However, the draft turned out to be quite poor, as the most radical proposals (both positive and negative, according to independent observers) were not taken into consideration, thus, becoming mere addenda to the document. The project is practically unremembered now.

Igor Borisov is a founder of the Russian Public Institute for Electoral Law, as well as its director. He holds a Ph.D. in law and is quite an expert in the field of electoral law. He served as an officer of the armed forces. However, for at least 15 years Borisov has been working exclusively in the interests of the Russian authorities. He repeatedly participated in various OSCE missions and spoke at OSCE events, criticizing OSCE leadership and accusing it of double standards. Borisov also constantly criticizes Golos and its leaders. From 2007 to 2011 he served as a member of the CEC. Being part of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, Borisov tried to block the adoption of decisions related to safeguarding the electoral rights of citizens. Back then he also headed a monitoring group, which would register minor violations during the elections, without, however, noticing the major ones. In 2018, Borisov entered the Scientific and Expert Council under the CEC and tried to block its work as well.

The younger persons not included in the new composition of the CEC, are Maya Grishina and Alexander Kinev. Maya Grishina started to work at the CEC in 1993. She was employed by the legal department of the commission to be later promoted to the head of the department. In 2007 she became a member of the CEC and in 2016 its Secretary. She was de facto the author of most of the electoral laws. She is the most literate person in terms of electoral legislation and its process. Notwithstanding this, she did not seek to protect the electoral rights of citizens, although she did try to hinder openly illegal decisions.

Alexander Kinev was to represent Yabloko party in the CEC, although he had de facto been appointed by the President (even though he was indeed a member of Yabloko). Once in the CEC, he was responsible, in particular, for the interaction with election observation organizations and at first was willing to cooperate. With time, however, his willingness ceased.

Seven members of the previous CEC composition have been reappointed. Among them are:

  • Nikolay Bulaev (he was the first Deputy Head of United Russia faction in the State Duma until 2016) - for the 2nd term;
  • Yevgeny Kolyushin (Communist party) - for the 7th term;
  • Boris Ebzeev - for the 3rd term;
  • Anton Lopatin (represents the group of the State Duma deputies, in other words - United Russia) - for the 3rd term;
  • Nikolay Levichev (Just Russia party) - for the 2nd term;
  • Yevgeny Shevchenko (was a representative of Patriots of Russia party within the CEC until 2016) - for the 2nd term;
  • Ella Pamfilova - for the 2nd term.

Nikolay Bulaev has remained the Deputy Chair of the CEC. Prior to his appointment to the CEC in 2016, he had been Deputy Head of the Ryazan region, deputy of the State Duma, Head of the Federal Agency for Education and member of the Federation Council. Having become a member of the CEC, he suspended his membership in United Russia, yet has essentially remained a representative of the 'party in power', whose interests Bulaev lobbies quite efficiently. He is very competent in matters of elections. In the former composition of the CEC, he actually managed such important areas as equipping polling stations with video surveillance cameras and de facto introduced the 'mobile voter' system. Yet he was also the one to try to limit the degree of transparency of these two systems. At times it might have seemed that his influence on the adoption of the most important decisions by the CEC was greater than that of the CEC chairs themselves.

Yevgeny Kolyushin is a Doctor of Law and a true veteran of the Central Election Commission. He has been a member of the CEC since 1995, representing the Communist party of the Russian Federation. As per his position, Kolyushin is often the only one to oppose the rest of the CEC members, to criticize the proposed decisions and the elections themselves. However, recently his criticism has become quite frail.

Boris Ebzeev is also a Doctor of Law and is considered a major specialist in constitutional law specifically. From 1991 to 2008 he was a judge at the Constitutional court of the Russian Federation. He resigned in order to be appointed head of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. Ebzeev spent three years as the head of the republic and then resigned. During his administration, the elections in the region were far from democratic. He was on top of the list of parliamentary representatives of United Russia without actually being a member of this party. After his resignation in 2011, he was included in the CEC. He will be remembered for his long speeches 'about nothing'. In his scientific publications, he sometimes defends electoral rights, but in practice often ignores them completely.

Anton Lopatin has been a member of the CEC since 2011. All of his previous activities were associated with United Russia and with one of its predecessors, namely Fatherland party. As a member of the CEC, he openly defends the interests of the state authorities and sometimes conflicts with independent election observation organizations.

Yevgeny Shevchenko was appointed to the CEC in 2016. Prior to that, he had been a member of the CEC with a consultative vote assigned by the Patriots of Russia party (which has recently merged with Just Russia). He worked quite actively at the CEC and operated in the regions of conflict. However, recently Shevchenko has clearly indulged violations of electoral rights.

Nikolay Levichev is going to represent Just Russia in the CEC for the 2nd term. He used to be one of the leaders of this party, the leader of its faction in the State Duma and the Deputy Chair of the State Duma. Levichev was one of the five deputies who submitted to the State Duma the draft of the Electoral Code of the Russian Federation, developed by independent election observers and experts from Golos. As a member of the CEC, he has been loyal to the election observation organizations, but inconsistent in defending the electoral rights of citizens.

The CEC members re-elected Ella Pamfilova as their Chair. Pamfilova headed the CEC in 2016, having extensive experience in human rights and interaction with observer organizations. From 2002 to 2010 she headed the Commission and later the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights. From 2014 to 2016 she was the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation. Pamfilova participated in the activities of Golos and in 2007 created a public pool called 'The right to choose'. In her new position, she was initially determined to improve the condition of the Russian elections and actively interacted with various public bodies, including observer organizations. At the end of 2016, she created the Expert and Consulting Group, headed by the Co-Chair of Golos movement Andrei Buzin.

However, it gradually became clear that all of her positive endeavours were failing. She was not able to include representatives of independent observer organizations in the regional election commissions. She could not achieve democratization of the electoral legislation and did not manage to prevent the withdrawal of a large number of opposition candidates from the elections to the Moscow City Duma in 2019. The level of falsification was reduced, but not by much.

As a result, in 2018-2019, Pamfilova's relations with election observation organizations deteriorated. In 2020 she abolished the Expert and Consulting Group and the Scientific and Expert Council at the CEC, which had existed since the end of 2018 and was partially composed of democratically-minded experts (1/3 of members). During the 2020 all-Russian vote on amendments to the Constitution, the independence of the CEC was reduced to zero, and the level of violations of citizens' rights and direct falsification skyrocketed.

Summing up Pamfilova's input as head of the CEC, journalists at Holod magazine wrote:

"The woman who once claimed that she would never 'agree to participate in an imitation of either political struggle or elections' because it was 'beneath her dignity,' [now] advises the journalists to look for election irregularities in the US, rather than in Russia. She is the one to support multiple-day voting outside the polling stations and believes that in Russia all the necessary democratic voting procedures are observed."

According to Grigory Melkonyants, Co-Chair of Golos movement, this new composition of the CEC showcases a lack of independence due to its complete merger with the executive authority and this trend has reached its peak since the foundation of the commission.

Andrei Buzin, author of the book 'A view of elections in Russia: Inside, Outside, Sideways' and Golos Co-Chair, believes that although the new composition of the CEC does not inspire hope for improvement in the conduct of elections (unlike five years ago), this CEC would have even less influence than the previous one.

The triumph of electronic electorate

The Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin votes online during the municipal elections of 2022 in Moscow (Telegram of the Mayor)

In late September, the judicial board for administrative disputes of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation rejected claims that both the three-day voting period and electronic voting in Moscow’s municipal elections were illegal. Thus, the dispute over the legitimacy of this form of expression of will has been put to rest forever.

In the elections which took place on September 9-11, opposition candidates were mostly defeated through Distance E-Voting.

The elections to municipal councils of deputies were won mostly by the United Russia party and candidates supported by the party, plus a few nominees from the CPRF, Just Russia and the New People parties. Candidates not affiliated with existing authorities accounted for only a small percentage of the total number elected, with the opposition camp admitting that some of the victories were entirely coincidental. This result was significantly different from the 2017 vote when municipal campaigns launched the political careers of many opposition figures.

We spoke to four municipal election contestants you may know from our previous articles about the past campaign and their future plans.

Movement in Defense of Voters' Rights 'Golos'. By Photobank Moscow-Live

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Russia is liquidating the League of Voters

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‘Golos‘ Movement supports Memorial and calls for an emergency civic meeting

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Elections, totalitarian style

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Golos' statement on the online voting in Russian elections

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Election Day-2021 in Bashkiria: 'Put in the target number I set'

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When they came for the Communist Party: Arrests, sieges, and pressure on supporters after the State Duma elections

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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.

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Regions by level of electoral fraud

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

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Voting Day 1: A Brief Overview

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The election campaign and administrative mobilization of voters in September 19, 2021 elections

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'The three heroes': more than a third of social media mentions are related to United Russia, CPRF, and the New People party

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Residents of Russia-Occupied East Ukrainian Territories Encouraged to Vote in 2021 State Duma Elections

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Arrests, bribery, threats

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Map of Violations Update - Aug 30-Sept 1

Arrests, arson, and being fired for refusing to register for remote voting

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

‘Imaginary’ campaign boards and an assignment to vote in prisons

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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.

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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.

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

Pressure on voters and state control over social media accounts

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.

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

PCR tests for voters and candidate flights at public expense

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.


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Screenshot of Golos' statement cover image

Statement on the continuation of the work of the Movement 'Golos' after being included in the 'Foreign agents' registry

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Russian regional elections in 2018. Image by Wikimedia Commons

Political and Legal Peculiarities of September 2021 Regional and Local Elections

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.

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

Open appeal of the 'Golos' Movement to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

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.

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

The administrative resource is gaining momentum, and independent candidates continue to face registration denials

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.

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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

Russian elections again without OSCE observation

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."

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

CEC restricts journalists' access to the electoral process

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.

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

‘Extremists’, ‘foreign agents’, and the abuse of administrative resource

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.

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

No public video broadcast from the polling stations during the September elections

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.

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

19 times: How the election law was changed before the 2021 State Duma elections

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.

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TV reporter, Bryansk. Photo - pxfuel

No tolerance for dissent: the state of Russian media ahead of 2021 elections

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.

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

What are "foreign agents" and "undesirable organizations"?

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?

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

Five years of silence: More than 20 State Duma lawmakers haven't said a word in parliament since they were elected in 2016

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.

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Arrest by the police. Image - Wikimedia Commons

Deprival of passive suffrage – who cannot run in the 2021 Duma Elections and why

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.

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

Online Voting Testing in the Russian Federation: Observers’ Assessment

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.

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

Conditions for Citizen Election Observation in the Russian Federation Ahead of the 2021 Duma Elections

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.

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

How Authorities Stripped Russians Of Choice

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.

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

Hundreds of Thousands of Extremists

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

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Plenary meeting of the State Duma. Image - Wikimedia Commons

The Law Prohibiting People Involved in Activities of Extremist Organizations from Participating in Elections Is Adopted

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

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Electoral headquarters of Alexey Navalny. Photo - Wikimedia Commons

Now Extremists. How Alexei Navalny's Supporters May Be Persecuted

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.

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

Implementation of OSCE/ODIHR Recommendations to Russia Following 2003-2018 Federal Elections

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.

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Man using computers. Photo by: Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Online Elections in Russia: Manipulating Votes in a New Digital Realm

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.

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Alexei Navalny. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

New Legislation Aims To Block Opposition Candidates

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.

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

The new-old Central Election Commission: an authentic renewal or a superficial touch up?

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).

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