Election Russian Style-Fraud, Bribery, Pressure

Russian voters and opposition parties complained of ballot stuffing, bribery and intimidation in Sunday’s presidential election in which Kremin backed candidate Dimitry Medvedev won a landslide victory. Golos, the oly independent Russian monitoring group said that a majority of the violations occurred not at the ballot box, but rather in the run-up to the election and during the tallying of votes. Numerous voters and observers called the Golos hotline to report incidents of ballots being stuffed ahead of the vote. Lila Shibanova of Golos said it was difficult to distinguish repeat voters and this was commonly done during course of the voting.

An observer, Roman Udot, said he peered through the slots of the sealed ballot boxes at a polling station and saw neatly stacked ballots, despie the fact voting had not yet begun. He took a picture of the stacked ballots and posted it on his blog, romanik.livejournalcom. Doctors at two hospitals were told to keep patients at the hospital an extra day so they could vote — and naturally cast their ballots the right way.

Everyone knew Medvedev would win, but the Putin government had to make certain the vote total was high enough so they could boast of an overwhelming victory for the nondescript candidate.