Disinfo: Russian-speaking citizens will be used to discredit the State Duma elections

Summary

Russia's opponents will try to use protests abroad to discredit the parliamentary elections in Russia.

The diasporas of Russian compatriots in other countries can also be influenced. Interference in elections in other countries is possible through influence on the diaspora.

We know situations in different countries when our foreign opponents, using their influence on the diasporas, practically interfered in elections in their historical homelands. People who live in a big strong NATO country, they are willingly or unwillingly guided by the authorities of this country, and the authorities give the command to go to elections and vote.

It is also possible that Russian-speaking citizens will be used abroad to organise so-called "global protests rallies”.

Disproof

This disinformation message advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about elections and "encircled Russia". No evidence is provided to support the allegations.

The Russian elections are not considered free and honest. A lot of opposition candidates have been barred from participating in them. The European Union has expressed its concern about the situation in Russia ahead of the parliamentary elections held on 17-19 September 2021.

There are legitimate concerns about the nature of the 2021 parliamentary election in Russia. For example, for the first time since 1993 the OSCE did not send election observers to Russia, as the Russian authorities had put last-minute limits on the number of observers so low that it would not allow the OSCE to work in an effective and thorough manner (down from OSCE-planned 500 to Russia-allowed 60).

According to Amnesty International, ahead of the elections the Russian authorities were both stepping up repression against their critics and using ever more direct ways of eliminating their political opponents. In previous elections, the main tools for eliminating unwanted candidates were refusals to register them or their disqualification for minor or imaginary infringements of the electoral process. This time, the authorities were applying a much more heavy-handed and sinister approach.

More and more media outlets in Russia are being arbitrarily declared 'foreign agents', essentially restricting freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Attempts to censor the content on the Internet are also increasing with ever more court cases against platform operators; examples here, here and here.

Additionally, Russia has been widely accused of having little political plurality. One of the most valuable weapons in the Kremlin's arsenal is its power to control who can run in elections - and indirectly guide their campaign. Moscow “has tried to create the semblance of competition”, says The Times, allowing other candidates to take part, whilst the more vocal anti-Putin voices are quickly pushed out of the race.

One of the main critics of the Kremlin, Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has survived an assassination attempt and is now imprisoned on politically-motivated charges. The Russia’s authorities have outlawed his anti-corruption movement.

Read more disinformation narratives alleging that the West is interfering in Russian elections.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 259
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: West, Elections, election meddling, NATO
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