Posted 20 сентября 2021,, 12:05

Published 20 сентября 2021,, 12:05

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Elections in Russia: foreign media analyze, joke and lie

Elections in Russia: foreign media analyze, joke and lie

20 сентября 2021, 12:05
The elections in Russia have just ended, and not everyone in the West has yet managed to comprehend their results in all the nuances. However, early on Monday morning it became clear that this would become one of the central topics of the world media.

The BBC reports that although United Russia easily retained a majority in parliament, it still lost some of the votes. In 2016, United Russia got 54% of the vote against 50% this year. Despite an 8% rise in support, communist leader Zyuganov complains of violations.

Der Spiegel notes that the elections were held as expected: with the victory of United Russia, the rise of the Communists and complaints of serious violations of the electoral law throughout the country. The magazine cites data from the independent initiative Golos (an unregistered public association that performs the functions of a foreign agent - "Novye Izvestia"), which received 4,000 complaints, which significantly exceeds the number of violations in the 2016 elections. "In some regions, election commissions are fighting observers with such ferocity that we have not seen anything like this in the past five years", - says Golos (an unregistered public association that acts as a foreign agent - "Novye Izvestia")

The CEC declared many of the complaints about violations to be fakes.

In St. Petersburg, independent observers were removed from polling stations before the vote was counted. Then they were detained by the police, writes NYT.

Observer Ksenia Frolova was detained by police after she filed several complaints of violations. An 18-year-old biology student told reporters that she and other observers identified a person who voted in several polling stations. None of her complaints were accepted. “I feel mentally broken”, - the girl said.

On the first day of voting, long lines formed in front of some polling stations. Der Spiegel's correspondents found out from the voters at the polling station located at school No. 1231 on the Arbat in Moscow that many voters work for the Ministry of Defense. In Yekaterinburg, all Zimaland employees voted for United Russia. The e-commerce company is known for filming pro-Putin videos.

In Moscow, online voting was accompanied by a lottery with millions of prizes. Each Internet voting participant received one prize each, including apartments, cars and vouchers for the purchase of goods.

The OSCE did not send its observers to the elections at all.

All mass media write that many opposition candidates were not admitted to the elections. The situation for the opposition has become more difficult after Google and Apple removed the Smart Voting applications. NYT requested comment from Google but received no response. Compliance by American tech companies with the Russian authorities' demands is surprisingly compliant, especially when Google portrays itself as a free flow of information. Previously, YouTube and other Google products helped ensure free speech even as the Kremlin cut democratic freedoms. An anonymous source in the company told the newspaper that the Russian authorities threatened to initiate criminal prosecution of more than 100 employees of the company "Google" if they do not block Alexei Navalny's "Smart Voting".

“These are elections without choice, and since they will always get the result they want, Smart Voting is a good mechanism,” said Philip Samsonov, 32, a photographer from Moscow. "I hope that in the future I will be able to vote not with my mind, but with my heart." Philip Samsonov cast his vote for a communist in his constituency, as advised by "Smart Voting", so that the candidate of the ruling party does not pass. He voted Sunday night to prevent anyone from using his ballot.

Many Russians continue to support Vladimir Putin, writes NYT. Teacher Tatyana Kolosova from the Moscow region voted against United Russia to “shake up the government” and force it to take up unemployment and support private business. At the same time, she considers Alexei Navalny to be the "enemy of the country" and promises to vote for Putin if he is going to put forward his candidacy for the fifth time.

The turnout in the elections was 45%, writes FT, which testifies to the apathy that arose in society after the Russian authorities carried out a massive attack against opposition supporters.

The Kremlin needed a convincing victory in the last parliamentary elections before the presidential elections. But a staged expression of will, in which the opposition accuses the authorities of stuffing and fraud, cannot block the people's anger over the declining standard of living.

The communists practically doubled their result compared to 2016 and defeated United Russia in Yakutia and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Analyzing the election results, the FT emphasizes that despite the fact that the 68-year-old president is significantly more popular than United Russia, a constitutional majority in parliament will be critical for the Kremlin to fulfill the agenda adopted last year, which provides for Putin to stay in power until 2036 ...

Many news agencies quoted Ella Pamfilova, chair of the Central Election Commission, who stated that during the elections “powerful hacker attacks” were recorded on the CEC website: they were mainly carried out, including from the USA (50%), from Germany (25%), from China (5%), as well as from the territory of Russia itself (10%).

The American television company Sky News assumes that the results of the past elections will be carefully analyzed in the Kremlin to identify real public sentiments. At the same time, the elections themselves took place against the backdrop of many reports of falsifications, which were extremely egregious, but at the same time completely familiar to Russians and not surprising anyone in the country, Sky News believes.

In general, the BBC notes, from the very beginning everyone knew who would win. Many media outlets in Europe began sharing their predictions with readers as soon as the three-day voting began.

In liberal democracies, this is a normal sequence of events: when something goes wrong in society or the economy, the electorate blames the government for it and punishes it at the first opportunity to vote. One might expect this to happen in a country where nearly 800 people die every day from covid-related illnesses at a time when many other states are beginning to cope with the pandemic, ”wrote the leading Dublin newspaper, The Irish Times.

“In Russia, however, where such catastrophic figures continue to be recorded, it is foolish to expect serious surprises from the elections to the lower house,” the newspaper stressed.

On Monday night, the Irish Times published a letter from the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, who was dissatisfied with the tone of the article. “Even such a distorted point of view has a right to exist. We are open to discuss, in a fair and civilized manner, any issue, including the pros and cons of political systems in our countries. But using the number of people with Covid-19 as an argument when assessing the level of democracy in the country is a new bottom for the Irish Times in its attitude towards Russia”, - Filatov was indignant.

The New York Times in its article methodically assessed the actions of political strategists, including a curious incident with three Boris Vishnevsky in St. Petersburg. In Russia, the newspaper writes, it is customary to call the “administrative resource” the exclusion of unwanted candidates, the distribution of money to voters before the elections, and (a novelty of these Duma elections) electronic voting, in which employers force employees to participate, sometimes even from computers in the personnel department.

By the way, as noted by the BBC, clone candidates are found not only in Russia. Several contenders with the same name are known to have run for the 2020 Florida Senate elections.

The correspondent of the British Internet publication The Independent spoke about how he visited a polling station in Tatarstan, after which a copy of his passport with all personal data somehow appeared on local telegram channels. He believes that this was done in order to intimidate foreign observers.

The journalist on Saturday, as it turned out, visited a polling station in the village of Osinovo. It is in such places, he writes, that the victories of United Russia are traditionally forged. In 2016, for example, Tatarstan reported a turnout of 79% of voters with a result of 85% in favor.

Nice Matin newspaper, published in Nice, came out with an unusually detailed article "Russians of the Cote d'Azur are called to the ballot boxes to elect deputies". Those Russians who were caught in the elections on the Cote d'Azur were asked to apply to a very small consular office (officially called the Chancellery) in the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer. They believe that about 100 thousand people from Russia live in these places. It is clear that it was not possible to serve all of them in a small consulate, but, for example, last year only 250 people came to vote on the amendments to the Constitution.

Interestingly, the polling station in Nice is assigned for some reason to a single-mandate constituency in Tomsk - just like all polling stations in Great Britain.

The newspaper inquired in detail the head of the consulate, Sergey Galaktionov, about whether a French QR code is required to visit the site, which is mandatory in many other public places in the country. His answer was: "Not needed!" At the same time, Galaktionov emphasized that all consular employees are vaccinated, and "Sputnik", told the BBC.

The Al Bayan newspaper, published in the United Arab Emirates, said that a video was disseminated on social networks in the West and on YouTube in which Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky lost his pants during a live broadcast.

The video released shows the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party pulling up his trousers during an election debate on one of the Russian TV channels. The moment when his pants fell came during his criticism of the work of the president, prime minister and ministers, whom Zhirinovsky called "communists." Despite the awkward situation, the politician continued his speech, but immediately changed the topic, - said Al Bayan.