In this one-pager, REM recounts the most significant October 2023 events signaling the start of the campaign.
The text is based on an analytical report prepared by experts and published on the Golos Movement for Defense of Voters' Rights website.
8-10 September in Russia were days of elections of State Duma deputies in four districts, heads of 21 regions, deputies of 16 regional parliaments, 12 city councils of regional capitals, as well as elections in the occupied territories and numerous local elections.
REM summarizes the main conclusions from the observation.
Parties are reluctant to participate in elections to regional and municipal assemblies, an expert report concludes. They understand the impossibility of fair competition and do not want to invest effort in fighting the ruling party. Further, the elections in the occupied territories cannot be considered legitimate either legally or procedurally.
Read more about the results of the nomination of candidates for deputies of local and regional parliaments.
The report’s primary conclusion aligns with expert forecasts: genuine competition between candidates is anticipated in only one region, the Republic of Khakassia, out of the 21 regions that participate in the September elections.
Read this report summary for more statistics and expert insights.
A recently published "Golos" report details who holds control over the precinct electoral commissions across Russian regions. REM provides insights into the key findings of the report, emphasizing its significance as we approach the 2023 elections and the 2024 presidential elections.
Mass searches and interrogations of Golos activists took place across the country. What do we know about that by now?
On the eve of the elections, Russian authorities adopted a new package of amendments to the electoral legislation. The changes aim to help candidates from the ruling party win in the September elections.
In light of the gubernatorial elections to be held in September in 21 Russian regions, we analyze a report on the candidates running for governor. The report concludes that no real competition can be expected in these elections, with few exceptions.
All the proclamations about the active involvement of 'war veterans' in politics remain empty rhetoric.
In reality, the 'defenders of Donbass' hat is now worn by the same politicians who have held official positions for years. This verbiage and masquerade are designed not to please the voters but to satisfy one particular person.
Ordinary non-public citizens of Russia become threat number two once they acquire knowledge related to the electoral field and touch the sphere where one of the fundamental myths of the regime is created: the myth of nationwide popular support.
A new study of Russian social media proved half of the sabre-rattling messages to be artificial duplicates orchestrated from the single centre. The research has also revealed prolific pro-governmental professional bloggers trying to dominate the Russian Internet community. And yet, they are 1.5 less popular than anti-war authors.
We continue to acquaint our readers with those rare, brave individuals who challenged the Putin regime at home during elections in September 2022, when the regime began to receive the first sobering blows at the front in Ukraine.
What happened with the reckless candidates after the elections? How did they survive the ordeal? Who managed to stay, and who had to flee the country? You will learn it in the following, the final part of this coverage, which is currently being written exclusively for REM.
On 12 September 2022, President Zelensky announced the liberation of 6,000 km2 in a massive counter-offensive. For President Putin, the day was the beginning of a period of humiliating defeats, of the disgraceful retreat of his army and a chaotic attempt at mobilisation.
But up to this very day, there had been an election campaign in Russia. In the choking atmosphere of "special military operation", under censorship and repression for any word of dissent, there were amazing people who dared to challenge the System.
By the end of voting, tension at the polling stations was growing. The number of reports claiming that commission members, police and unauthorised persons put psychological pressure on observers has also increased.
According to Golos Movement, the main trends for the second voting day were conflicts between members of commissions and civic observers, signs of possible falsifications, and bribery and coercion of voters.
Main election day trends: pressure on election observers and candidates, bloated turnout in Distance E-Voting, coerced voting, failure of the Electronic Voter Register, violation of the rights of election committee members, observers and mass media, fabrication of fakes and attempts to discredit citizen observers.
The failure of the PR campaign uncanny resembles the collapse of the military campaign on the battlefields. A new media monitoring report on "special operation" describes the unexpected resistance of the Russian population to a heavy propagandistic barrage.
The passing year built on legislative trends of the previous one and even brought about many innovations in censorship, limitations of online activities, and infringements on privacy. Such provisions include multiple prohibitions related to the Great Patriotic War, the ‘law against Anti-Corruption Foundation’, and infamous QR codes.
Preliminarily evaluating the elections to the Ufa City Council and the State Duma in the Republic of Bashkortostan, the 'Golos' Movement regretfully cannot recognize the elections as truly fair, i.e., fully compliant with the Constitution, the laws of the Russian Federation, the laws of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and international election standards.
The election campaign in the Leningrad Oblast ended on October 4 with the first meeting of the new convocation of the Oblast Legislative Assembly. Golos' analysis indicates that official election results reflect the undistorted will of voters in only 6 of the 25 districts of the region. Here is an overview of how the seventh convocation of the Leningrad regional parliament was formed.
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.
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.
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"'.
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"'.
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.
'The three heroes': more than a third of social media mentions are related to United Russia, CPRF, and the New People party
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.
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.
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.
Two universes: unlike on television, in social networks, United Russia and the Communist Party are almost head-to-head
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.
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.
The outcomes of nomination and registration of candidates to the State Duma of the Russian Federation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.