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Sep 20, 2021
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How the West reacted to the State Duma elections

How the West reacted to the State Duma elections

Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS

The State Duma elections were by far the most important political news in Russia. The first three-day parliamentary vote in Russian history also attracted the attention of foreigners. “SP” offers a selection of the most interesting publications of the foreign press about the past expression of the will of Russians.

CNN dryly describes that “United Russia” won the majority, the opposition CPRF received much less according to official figures. But the main thing, according to the TV channel, was not allowed to participate in the elections. Alexey Navalny, he himself was imprisoned, and his supporters were declared extremists.

The New York Times believes that the results of the parliamentary elections showed an increase in opposition sentiment to the president Vladimir Putin

At the same time, before the announcement of the first results, it seemed that United Russia could easily win. This time, the popularity of the Communists has noticeably increased, who were able to gain about 22% of the vote, compared with 13% five years earlier. “Russian elections are not free and fair, and the role of parliament in recent years has been mainly to suppress the Kremlin’s initiatives, giving the appearance of democratic legitimacy to the rule of Mr. Putin,” the journalists of the publication write.

The newspaper also writes that during all three days of the expression of the will of the people, there were many videos on social networks regarding ballot stuffing and other falsifications.

Sky News assumes that the results of the past elections will be carefully analyzed in the Kremlin to identify the real public sentiment. The very result with the expected victory of the EP did not surprise anyone, but how much the so-called “smart voting” influenced their result remains to be seen. At the same time, the elections themselves took place against the backdrop of many reports of fraud, which were extremely egregious, but at the same time completely familiar to Russians and not surprising to anyone, the authors of the article write.

“There is a strange situation in the Volga region, where the head of the local electoral commission decides to eat a piece of paper, which, apparently, is the subject of a quarrel with the employees of the polling station. It may be incomprehensible, but … only in Russia, ”the newspaper said.

The British BBC believes that the ruling United Russia party receives the majority of mandates in the State Duma amid numerous reports of fraud. According to the newspaper, the most ardent opponents of the Kremlin were banned from participating in the elections this time. There were also many reports of forced voting and massive stuffing.

Journalists draw attention to the fact that representatives of “United Russia” immediately after the closure of polling stations announced a “clean” victory. However, as the authors of the material note, United Russia lost about a fifth of its votes in comparison with the previous elections.

Journalists associate the fall in the rating of the ruling power with criticism of the Russian president by opposition politician Alexei Navalny. At the same time, the BBC recognizes that Putin remains for many Russians a symbol of resistance to the West. “For the first time since 1993, election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were not present due to restrictions imposed by the Russian authorities,” the authors of the article also note.

The British Independent is outraged by the alleged fact of pressure on its Moscow correspondent. According to the newspaper, the journalist’s passport data was exposed in the public domain during the voting, which can be considered an open threat to human security.

Many foreign media outlets describe the Russian elections in exclusively negative terms. The electoral process was carefully managed, genuine opposition opponents were prevented from running, and international observers from the OSCE were not allowed. The only opportunity to see new faces in power can be considered a good result of the New People party. However, the opposition as a whole was subjected to constant repression, which made it possible to defeat United Russia, whose rating was steadily declining.

In Germany, they write that the party of Vladimir Putin will retain the majority in parliament. In general, according to the authors of the material, only the “symbolic opposition” took part in the elections. At the same time, during the voting itself, many violations were recorded that were not taken into account by the authorities.

The Irish Times published an editorial in which they noted that in a democratic society it is customary to blame the government and the ruling party for failures in the economy.

However, in Russia, as journalists write, everything is completely different. “United Russia”, despite all the failures of power, is extremely popular. Although, according to the authors, other parties are no better. The only visible alternative, journalists say, are supporters of Alexei Navalny, who is in prison and his party cannot be registered.

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