Today, Orwellian language has officially become an integral part of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine. In this perverted dictatorial lounge, a peaceful civilian demonstration is called a “provocation,” while OMON riot police brutally beating protesters is just called “maintaining order.” Putin classifies the demand for free and fair elections as an attempt to usurp power, while his own special operation to establish a personal life-long dictatorship is a means of saving the country. So it’s no surprise that these elections, which have been celebrated as the fairest and cleanest ever, were accompanied by the highest ever number of falsifications in contemporary Russian history.
Yet again, the government has chosen to take a confrontational stance against society. Every existing administrative resource was used unabashedly to inflate the voting results reported by the Kremlin. The 63.6% that Vladimir Churov claims Putin won is supposed to demonstrate that Putin enjoys the highest level of support of all the candidates and crush the hope of those who want change in Russia.
The actual percentage of Putin’s support across the country still has to be determined by electronic statistics experts – granted, that kind of research is always going to deal in estimates, given the particularities of the electoral process in the North Caucasus and other national territories.
However, it’s already possible to paint a more or less objective picture of the voting results in Moscow and thus try to project the level of confidence that Putin enjoys within the capital. The very fact that even Churov’s wizardry was unable to help Putin pass the 50% mark says a lot. Within the official 47% are all the multitudinous violations documented by the entire army of observers who flooded Moscow’s polling stations on March 4. But the government nevertheless demonstrated that its capacity for manipulation rivals that of Ostap Bender – the great fictional Soviet con man who knew of “400 relatively honest ways of pilfering cash.”
The main attractions during this political carnival were the supplementary voter lists and the sudden demand for absentee ballots, although it turned out that the reliable old “carousel” wasn’t’ forgotten, either. The particularity of the supplementary lists was that the voters included on them received ballots that weren’t entered into the right column in the record keeping account, since as opposed to absentee ballots they’re considered to have been issued normally.
I’d like to begin my own little statistical analysis with a description of my personal experience. I observed the vote counting at Station #165, where I voted early in the morning. Judging by the conversations between observers and a polling station commission member before the beginning of the count, some number of voters at that site had turned up on the supplementary list, which had been signed off on by the manager of a certain business. But it involved “only” 30-40 names. The voting results on the website of the Central Electoral Commission did coincide with the report that I got from that site. The winner, by a small margin, was Mikhail Prokhorov. Putin’s draw was 32.65%.
As part of a mobile group, I visited a variety of polling stations on March 4. In the Sokol district at Station #1232, observers saw a sizeable influx of “voters” from supplementary lists. The complaints filed by our lawyer with the polling station commission and the territorial election commission remain, of course, unanswered. The figures were as follows:
Putin – 43.61%
Prokhorov – 22.56%
Zyuganov – 19.62%
At the same time, of the 230 people included on the supplementary list, only 160 voted. (An explicit fault that calls for the attention of higher agencies!) Without those 160 organized voters, whose votes, it somehow seems to me, were also counted in the other regions of Russia where they’re registered as residing, the results would have looked like this:
Putin – 37.8%
Prokhorov – 27%
Zyuganov – 23.5%
According to Yulia Latynina’s data, Putin got 34% of the vote at the “Kosher” station where she observed, again losing to Mikhail Prokhorov.
At the station where Boris Nemtsov observed, Putin’s result was 38.29%, but out of the 898 ballots counted, 116 were filled out by an organized group of Nashi members. Minus this result, Putin falls to 30%, and he again loses to Prokhorov.
It’s clear that there were stations where Putin’s result was over the 40% mark even with observers present, but it’s unlikely that the average result in Moscow was higher than 35%.
We could, of course, once again go down the road of talking endlessly about the gigantic value gap between Moscow and the rest of Russia. Or we could just suffice to say that because of the level of observation that we managed to do in the capital, and regardless of all the demonstrated creativity and activated administrative resources that they had, the swindlers and thieves had a terribly difficult time stealing our votes, and our future.