May 3, 2021
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Tricks of the Kremlin: Stanislavsky was right when he said – “I do not believe!”

In the photo: members of the Central Election Commission of Russia

In the photo: members of the Central Election Commission of Russia (Photo: Sergey Savostyanov / TASS)

There is hardly another official in the country who is so demonstratively emotionally worried about his work as the chairman of the CEC Ella Pamfilova… We all often see on TV how hotly she speaks, talking about how much she has done in her post, and how much she is upset by the intentions of her opponents to allegedly discredit the work of the department. At the same time, the emotional facial expressions and characteristic aspiration of the head of the CEC resembles the stage style of the People’s Artist of the USSR Tatiana Doronina… But viewers sincerely believe the words and experiences of Doronina’s characters, but Pamfilova’s statements about fair elections for almost half of the country’s voters, to put it mildly, do not inspire.

And if there are no problems in the electoral system in the country, then why did the head of state once again urge the authorities to observe the law during the upcoming elections?

At a meeting of the Council of Legislators at the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, which was recently held in St. Petersburg, the head of state recalled that federal parliamentary elections will be held in the fall, significant election campaigns will also be held in the constituent entities of the federation.

“I ask you to compete with respect to all your opponents. Honestly, transparently and in strict accordance with the norms of the law and political ethics, Russia here too should set a good example for others, ”he considered it necessary to note Vladimir Putin

The President has reasons for concern about this issue – they are quite reasonable. On the eve, Vladimir Putin met with the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova. The head of the CEC informed the president about the development of the electoral system in Russia and preparations for the upcoming election campaign. According to Ella Pamfilova, the most important result of the last five years is that “the confidence of our citizens in the elections themselves and in the electoral system has increased significantly.”

Actually, in fact, almost half of the country does not trust the current electoral system. According to the latest data, this is quite an official VTsIOM, and not “some” foreign agent.

Only 57% of Russians believe that the counting of votes in their region is rather fair, without serious violations of the law. Doubt (as determined by VTsIOM) in the honesty of the elections held by 29% of our compatriots.

It seems that such a ratio is clearly in favor of the CEC: only a third of the “lost” voters. But where else is 14% of the votes in the poll about this? And they “hid” in another indicator – 26% of Russians could not even remember the last elections in which they took part. Voting is traditionally ignored by those who do not trust the electoral system. And how did those who supposedly think that everything is fair in the elections, but there is no point in going to them?

It looks illogical even for the current political system. And this hardly speaks of confidence in the electoral procedures, but rather the exact opposite: everything is great with the elections, just get rid of it.

But even if we take into account only those who, in one way or another, nevertheless spoke in favor of the CEC, it is still an amazing, devastating indicator: only a little more than half of the citizens trust the electoral system, which forms the basis of all state power in the country.

The President, of course, knows a more complete, more detailed and, most importantly, more accurate picture of the electoral mood. It is unlikely that it is better, otherwise the whole country would quickly learn about this news, joyful for the authorities. Therefore, Vladimir Putin was hardly surprised by the admission of the head of the CEC that she had failed to eradicate public skepticism about the country’s electoral system.

“You know, stereotypes have been spreading for many years. You know such a catch phrase that it doesn’t matter how people vote, it is important how they count, ”Pamfilova complained to Putin.

And, apparently, to increase the drama of the situation, she warned: “I have not spoken about this yet, but now I admit that in fact there were more than enough people willing among our opponents, if not to disrupt this vote, then seriously discredit it”.

But “measures” are already being taken with might and main. At the end of March, the All-Russian Electoral Forum was held in Moscow, which, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, is designed to gather the maximum number of experts and observers who “will be tasked with creating an information image favorable to the authorities and United Russia”.

At the forum, a member of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation Anton Lopatin presented an approximate mechanism for the implementation by the Central Election Commission of its new authority – to put forward demands to block illegal campaigning on the Internet. “It is clear that already now in one fist there are gathered those who will submit appropriate complaints to the authorities,” the newspaper notes.

What is this if this is not the formation of an additional administrative resource? And first of all, this “fist” of the authorities will strike at those who will question such an invention in electoral practice as the legality of the multi-day voting “on stumps”.

And this is so contrary to the understanding of the “transparency and honesty” of the electoral process that it is simply impossible not to discuss it.

Recently the Commissioner for Human Rights in St. Petersburg Alexander Shishlov appealed to the head of the Central Election Commission of Russia, Ella Pamfilova, with a recommendation not to make a decision on holding a three-day voting in the upcoming elections of deputies of the State Duma and the Legislative Assembly. The Ombudsman noted that this experience of the innovation introduced by the CEC “turned out to be negative, numerous violations were revealed …”. And he presented a huge list of “hemp” outrage and lawlessness in a special report.

According to Alexander Shishlov, “the numerous violations revealed have convincingly demonstrated that, given the current state of the electoral system in St. Petersburg, holding a multi-day vote creates conditions for abuse by those interested in falsifying the voting results, and will inevitably lead to a decrease in the reliability of voting results, discredit the process, to violations of the electoral rights of citizens, undermining confidence in the elections and voting results ”.

What then the growth of citizens’ confidence in the elections was the head of the CEC trying to tell the president?

“The confidence in the elections is falling, they are turning into a kind of voting ritual,” said the head of the political expert group. Konstantin Kalachev… At the same time, he did not rule out that this could really bother the current rulers, since such a trend is aimed, paradoxically as it may sound, at undermining the current government itself, and even more – the state foundations.

But the current government, in particular, the United Russia party, which occupies the majority of seats in parliament, probably already cannot afford such a luxury as fair elections – its ratings have fallen too low. An April survey by the Levada Center (ANO Yuri Levada Analytical Center was included in the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation) notes: “The level of approval of the State Duma in an election year remains at a low level. 41% of respondents have a positive attitude to its activities, 55% – negatively. ”

– I am convinced, and my sad experience of participation in the elections proves that honest and fair elections in the Russian Federation are currently impossible.

This is due to the fact that the elections have been turned into a farce, that various additions and changes are constantly being introduced into the electoral legislation, which, on the one hand, make it difficult for a large number of candidates to participate in the election campaign, and, on the other hand, make it easier for the authorities to use the administrative resource, – considers former People’s Deputy of the State Duma, reserve colonel, politician Viktor Alksnis:

– This innovation concerning the multi-day voting “on stumps” is only one of the achievements of lawyers from the presidential administration and the Central Election Commission. And even at the current stage, we see perfectly well that the government’s candidates – those who are planned that they will not be elected, but appointed as deputies of the State Duma – already now receive unlimited access to the media, they are actively promoting.

Taking these circumstances into account, in the presence of a powerful administrative resource that determines the fate of the elections today, the election results are guaranteed only by the absence of political competition. Please note that not a single political party, which, let’s say, is actively oppositional, is not allowed before the elections, their representatives are denied registration in order to generally exclude their participation as party representatives in the elections.

There is pressure on those people who would like to take part in these elections – by, inter alia, initiating criminal proceedings, passing unjust court decisions in order to tarnish their convictions, and thus exclude even the possibility of their participation in electoral actions. Even this far from complete set of administrative and illegal measures already testifies to the fact that honest and fair elections are impossible in Russia at the present time. No matter how hard they try to assure us of the opposite, CEC Chairperson Ella Pamfilova and even Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“SP”: – Did the recent changes in the Constitution somehow affect the electoral system that has developed in the country?

– In the positive direction – no. When introducing amendments to the Constitution, a new renovation was tried in the form of a multi-day voting “on stumps”, and now this is enshrined in legislation as a norm. And in due time Lenin said this about a situation like this: what is essentially correct is actually mockery.

That is, on the one hand, laws were passed that seemed to give additional freedom of action to voters, but this turned out to be essentially a mockery of common sense. In my opinion, historically unique situations have now been created in Russia, when the state has formed a state system of election fraud, grandiose in its scale and capabilities. And it actively uses this mechanism – for its own political purposes.

“SP”: – The institution of observers justified its creation, is it working effectively?

– Observers practically cannot exert any influence on the observance of the rule of law in the course of the electoral process, since they are deprived of the opportunity to control in reality due to the restrictions and prohibitions introduced to the maximum extent in the electoral legislation. This makes it difficult for observers. They have limited access to check ballots, video and photography in the premises of polling stations without special permission are prohibited, and there are many, many other similar innovations limiting the possibilities of real observation of the electoral process.

In addition, in order to really control the voting process, dozens of observers are needed at the polling station. And all these mobile teams, plus the use of technology with voting “on stumps” – all this requires additional resources to organize the monitoring process. This is a rather laborious process, it is difficult both psychologically and physically. And it is not so easy to find people who will be ready like this, just on sheer enthusiasm, to go and stand on duty for almost a day or more, because the counting of votes can drag on until the next day.

And this requires large financial investments, and all political parties, except for United Russia, do not have that kind of money. Well, and what for “United Russia” to control when these elections are under the control of both local administrations and local election commissions?

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