Russian election technology is a proof of a well functioning democracy

Summary

It is very interesting for geopolitics to see how a country as big as Russia controls the territory. In such a large country the electoral system must be adapted. [Russia has] chosen the technology to face this challenge. Russia is posing as a laboratory of digital democracy in the world nowadays.

Disproof

An optical scan voting system to read marked paper ballots and count the results was used during the single voting day on September 8 at Russia's regional elections.  Its is often presented by Russian authorities is a guarantee of fair election. However, it did not prevent the elections from the irregularities. The independent election observation association Golos reports:

"In a number of instances, vote counting was artificially delayed. This, in particular pertains to municipal elections in St. Petersburg where the counting was delayed most likely to rewrite the protocols. At Elista, as of 2am on September 9, not a single protocol of precinct election commissions was entered into the GAS “Vybory” (State Automated System of the Russian Federation), while precinct election commission No 43, six hours after the polling station was closed",

In general, Golos reported 1,708 voting violations across Russia, including 564 cases in Moscow. In one possible example in the Moscow region, a candidate from the Yabloko party shot video that appeared to show a stack of prepared ballots at a polling station. But even more than counting votes irregularities, for Golos, "the most important factor that influenced voting results was artificial restriction of competition".

Thus, the Moscow City Election Commission (MCEC) refused to register all the independent opposition candidates. The claimed reason was the high percentage of rejected signatures. A significant part of the signatures was invalidated on the grounds of a so-called handwriting examination, which scientific validity and impartiality the candidates questioned.

The elections took place amid the climate of violence, which can hardly be called "laboratory of democracy". The decision to bar many liberals from running sparked a wave of protests in the Russian capital, with some 50,000 turning out at the August 10 opposition event.During the July 27 demonstration, some 1,300 people were arrested.  By September 16, seven protesters were sentenced to prison terms from 2 to 5 years. Six from them did not recognize their fault but all six were found guilty of aggression against police forces  (pushing, pulling a hand of them), as well as of the repeated participation in a non authorized rally which is a criminal offence under the Russian law. 6 more  protesters are now being investigated, one is facing trial

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 164
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/09/2019
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: Russia, France
  • Keywords: Democracy, Elections
  • Outlet: RT France @ 0:35 - 1:54
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Baltic states organize provocations against their Russian-speaking population

The Baltic countries have long been organising provocations against the Russian-speaking population living there to receive a reaction and then to immediately complain to Western allies about the “Russian threat”.

The promotion of a “Russian threat” helps the Baltic countries to achieve domestic and foreign political goals.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia in the Baltic States. 

See similar previous disinformation cases: No freedom of speech in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia; Russophobia is the main export of Lithuania.

Sanctions against Russia are not effective, Russian economy is developing better than the EU’s

When the US and EU introduced sanctions against Russia, they were so confident about their effectiveness that they began assuring each other about this. For instance, former US President Barack Obama stated that thanks to sanctions Russian economy “is torn apart”. A few years after the introduction of sanctions the Russian economy is developing faster than the European one.

Disproof

Although the EU's and US's sanctions against Russia were not aimed to ruin Russian economy and its performance is influenced by many other factors beyond sanctions, the claim about better performance of Russian economy under sanctions is not true.

In reality, sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and EU, following the annexation of Crimea and Russian meddling in the US election, have sapped Russian economic growth. The Russian economy has been performing worse during the whole period. In 2014 Russian GDP growth was as low as 0.7%. It decreased by 2,3% in 2015 and had modest revival afterwards with 0.3%, 1.6%, and 2.3% of growth during 2016-2018, the World Bank data shows. In contrast to Russia, during the same period, the EU's economy did not experience recessions and had annual GDP growth between 1.8% and 2.5%.

Serbia’s neighbours are drawn in the NATO despite the citizens’ will

Not all of Serbia’s neighbours are able to withstand external pressure. Despite the will of most citizens they are drawn into the North Atlantic Alliance’s orbit with its fictional security guarantees.

 

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation portraying NATO as an ambitiously expanding organisation. Countries can not be drawn into NATO because every country decides for itself if they want to join the Alliance or not. The NATO accession process consists of a series of formal steps which both the aspirant country and the Alliance continuously confirm. Countries wishing to join have to meet certain requirements and complete a multi-step process involving political dialogue and military integration.

Concerning a possible enlargement, four partner countries have declared their aspirations for NATO membership: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of North Macedonia and Ukraine.