Sep 20, 2021
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Elections-2021: Kremlin thinks it has cheated people again

Elections-2021: Kremlin thinks it has cheated people again

Photo: Vladimir Gerdo / TASS

By noon on September 20, the Central Election Commission announced the preliminary results of voting in the State Duma based on the results of counting 90% of ballots. So far, five parties are elected to parliament on the lists – United Russia (49.66%), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (19.56%), the Liberal Democratic Party (7.51%), A Just Russia – For the Truth (7.38%) , “New People” (5.33%).

When voting in single-mandate constituencies, 195 candidates from the United Russia Party, 15 from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, 7 from the party “Fair Russia – For Truth” and one each from the Liberal Democratic Party, “Yabloko”, “Rodina”, the Civil Platform and the Party of Growth are in the lead.

Despite the fact that the counting of votes is almost complete, many experts and election participants have questions about the voting process and counting. In particular, at the start of the count, United Russia gained less than 40%, while the Communist Party was approaching 25%. After processing 14% of the votes, the ratio became 41.17% to 23.9%. And then the party in power gradually increased its advantage, and the rest of the parties lost, in particular, the New People, which at first went on a par with the Liberal Democratic Party and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, dropping almost to a passing barrier of 5%.

A separate issue is the situation with data on electronic voting. Despite the fact that they should be available promptly, the figures for two million voters in Moscow were published only at 14:00. Head of the public headquarters for election observation in the capital Alexey Venediktov attributed the delay in the publication of data to the fact that a significant part of those who voted electronically re-voted.

The Communist Party promised to challenge the results in some constituencies, especially on electronic voting. However, the ruling party also found claims – it will challenge the results in Yakutia, where, after processing 100% of the protocols, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation wins with 35.15% of the vote. United Russia has 33.22%.

Independent political scientist Pavel Salin believes that, in general, the participants in the elections can be satisfied with the results, especially the newcomers to the Duma’s New People campaign. The question is whether the voters and political elites will be just as pleased with the figures.

– The results for almost all participants in the election campaign can be assessed as satisfactory. For the “New People”, who are almost certainly going to the State Duma, the results are good. It was not completely clear whether they would pass or not, they could have been sacrificed during the counting of votes to ensure the result of United Russia, but it looks like they would still be allowed to pass to a minimum.

For United Russia, the “fork” was quite large. If she could not maintain a constitutional majority, which seemed quite real at the start of the vote count, it would be a complete failure for the government, which could launch a new political dynamic. A repeat of the 2016 result or a little more would be a success. Therefore, the current figures can be assessed as acceptable.

For the communists who became the beneficiaries of the protest vote, the result can also be called satisfactory. But the administrative resource played a serious role in the final results. Taking the example of Yakutia and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, where local elites refuse to use the administrative resource in favor of the authorities, we see what the results could be across the country.

For the “Social Revolutionaries” the result is even good, because they are going to the State Duma, and this was not obvious. The Liberal Democratic Party can also be satisfied, since the party is concentrating its last forces, taking into account the diminishing resources of its leader.

Now the question is how will these results be assessed? Vladimir Putin and the Russian elites, for whom the elections have become a litmus test of the authorities’ ability to control the political process in the country.

“SP”: – What is the reason for the fact that the result of the party in power has steadily increased during the counting of votes?

– On the one hand, a more protest-minded electorate is traditionally located to the east of the Urals, so the results of United Russia and the authorities as a whole are always adjusted upward as they count from east to west. But the point is in the volume of such an adjustment. In addition, judging by all the indicators, the whole country is in protest. Therefore, the correlation in more than 10% of the votes raises questions.

Perhaps what could be called a balancing act was happening at night. Campaign administrators were deciding how to balance the numbers in a way more beneficial for the EP. We see that until the last moment the data that the authorities want to keep as the last trump card are adhered to – the final data on the turnout in the country and data on the results of electronic voting in Moscow.

I repeat, the approximate result across the country, which we could see without using administrative resources during the voting, was shown by the situation in Yakutia and the NAO, where local elites have been demonstrating open opposition to the federal government for the past few years.

Here, the dynamics in the NAO is especially interesting, which ten years ago showed outrageous results in favor of the authorities, like other national republics, and after they were greatly offended by the alleged entry into the Arkhangelsk region, local elites announced a boycott and let the voting process go by itself. As a result, and last year, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug became the only entity that voted against the amendments to the Constitution, and this year the United Russia and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation are practically on a par.

“SP”: – Are protest actions by voters dissatisfied with the voting results possible?

– This is a key issue for the authorities, which is why it so quietly cut off and continues to balance the results of the vote count during the play. If it were not for these fears, the figures of “United Russia” would have been announced from the very beginning. And so the administrators of the political campaign are between two poles – the need to ensure an extremely high EP result of 340-350 mandates (otherwise they will face serious sanctions from Vladimir Putin) and the discontent of the population and those political players who consider themselves losers.

The authorities are afraid of mass dynamics, which are unpredictable and it is not clear what can serve as a trigger. She does a lot to neutralize protest sentiments, and when counting votes, the result is adjusted gradually to look at the reaction of the players. She is also trying to spread straws for herself, ranging from the mobilization of the security forces and ending with the involvement of meteorologists, who in Moscow predicted a record three-day rainstorm yesterday, which is not observed at all. This should also deter protesters from taking to the streets.

But the current situation differs from past electoral cycles, for example, from what it was 10 years ago. Then the Duma and presidential campaigns put an end to the political cycle, it was important for the authorities to fix the result and forget about it for several years. And now the Duma elections serve as a starting point for other political processes, in particular, the transit of power. It is important how the elites assess the real results of the voting and the ability of the authorities to control the political situation. If this score is not very high, they may start to play their own game.

According to candidate of economic sciences, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Sergei Obukhov the voting results do not correspond to the political mood in the country.

– What happened is the result of political banditry, which does not reflect real shifts and changes in public opinion, including the growth of support for the Communist Party. Society was ripe for a change of course and voted for a different role for parliament. Unfortunately, the general machinations in electronic voting and the outrageous administrative resource in the “electoral sultanates” led to the fact that United Russia allegedly retained the status quo.

In fact, there can be no question of any preservation. It seems to me that the authorities overestimated their capabilities and ability to falsify results without growing discontent.

The Communist Party received an unprecedented level of support, which has not been there since the 90s. Unfortunately, we were unable to convince the public that falsifications in electronic voting are possible, and the numbers are simply drawn here. I think the party will not recognize the results of electronic voting, and this entails non-recognition of the results in a large number of regions.

“SP”: – Why has it taken so long to announce the results of electronic voting in the capital?

– The general shaher-maher is taking place in Moscow. I can say that in my 205th constituency, the KOIBs were known within five minutes already at 8 o’clock, but this data has not yet been entered into the system, because there is an attempt to falsify the result. This is not very successful on paper ballots, because we defend them, and electronic voting is impossible to trace. And our party warned about this.

Previously, it was necessary to invent something, give a lift to guest workers, carousel people, carry out stuffing, but here you can get the desired result with just a virtual tap of your finger. Think for yourself, the figures for electronic voting were not immediately posted, they were waiting for the results from paper ballots to come. In Moscow, it was announced at all that the results would be published at two in the afternoon. What kind of electronic voting is this, do you have these electrons riding on dogs? Simply due to this, you can correct the result if necessary.

“SP”: – The Communist Party of the Russian Federation will challenge these results?

– Naturally, we will dispute all this. It is difficult to say if people will massively challenge the election results, but if you look at social media, everything is just raging.

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