A Quick Note On Russia’s Duma Elections 2011

On reading Western commentary on the upcoming Russian Duma elections, I realized that they can’t decide between two narratives: either the popularity of United Russia is sinking faster than Herman Cain’s following his sex abuse scandals, thus meaning that it will manipulate the votes to get its desired majority; or Russian elections are complete shams anyway (as we all know) and thus irrelevant, which does away with the inconvenient fact that for all the liberals’ harping about United Russia being the “party of crooks and thieves” consistently more than 50% of Russians still insist on voting for it.

The reality is quite a bit simpler than these convoluted attempts to discredit Russian democracy (thought some are quite simple and transparent in their propaganda: given the data from opinion polls, it is hard to believe Miriam Elder, who wrote in the Guardian that when she asked a classroom of 22 students whether they would vote against United Russia, “every single student raises their hand”). As I wrote back in July, opinion polls of voter preferences closely correlate to election results. And unfortunately for some it just so happens that the “decline” of United Russia’s popularity is really little more than the product of fevered imaginations: as you can see from the list of opinion polls on Wikipedia, United Russia’s share of the vote (excluding the undecided and those who won’t vote) has stayed largely steady and well ahead of all the other parties.

As you can see from the graph of Levada polls above, United Russia remains head and shoulders above the KPRF (Communists) and LDPR (populists). The only major change of recent months – far surpassing the largely insignificant fluctuations in UR’s dominant support levels – is that Fair Russia looks that it will overcome the 7% barrier. Before its 5-10% point fall in popularity, UR looked like it would retain a slight constitutional majority, from today’s 70%, to something like 67%, by virtue of Fair Russia not getting in due to its low support levels. However, the late night (and unexpected) increase in Fair Russia’s popularity means that it is increasingly likely that it WILL clear the 7% barrier and get into the Duma again, meaning that United Russia will be left with with something like 55% of the seats. I.e., a reduction from 315/450 seats to 253/450 seats, which means a loss of its current constitutional majority. It will remain comfortably dominant, just not quite as overweeningly so as before. The two liberal parties remain irrelevant: Yabloko for being pathetic (their unstinting support for Euro-integration especially doesn’t look good now on the background of the current Euro crisis), and Right Cause are neoliberal ideologues who’ve Russians already had a lifetime of in the 1990’s.

Fun tidbit: UR has a good sense of humor, as shown in its campaign video above (h/t A Good Treaty). Proudly embracing Navalny’s “party of crooks and thieves” accolade to “demonstrate” its inclusiveness and the envy it arouses within lazy malcontents: ballsy, and effective.

Will there be cheating? Obviously, there will be some violations and falsifications. There ALWAYS are in practically any democracy. It’s fairly predictable (based on past history) that many Western journalists and election will cry foul regardless, because they suffer from Putin Derangement Syndrome, believe that anybody who doesn’t put Western interests before their own country’s must necessarily be a dictator and a kleptocrat, and thus disparage UR as an authoritarian party that stuffs ballots as the only way to retain power against all those Russians who earn for the kind of true democracy enjoyed by Libya and Egypt. But these are dishonest and mendacious arguments as long as election results remain in line with opinion polls – which, on past experience, they will be. Bearing in mind that voting intentions for United Russia have fluctuated from 49% to 60% in the past two months – and for the entire past year, for that matter – as long as its election result remains in the 50%’s, it will be very hard to build a credible case that it did electoral rigging. If it scores SIGNIFICANTLY more than 60%, say 65% or more, only then could it be said with some certainty that there was systemic manipulation (I will also acknowledge that and burn the Putin portrait on my wall). Likewise if it polls significantly less than 50%, say 45%, one can then say: WTF? Is the Kremlin rigging votes against itself?

The eternal question of whether Russia’s elections are fair (they are quite obviously free as far as such things realistically go in most of the world) is a bit too for this post. The article on whether Russian elections are rigged quoted in this piece has many good comments on that topic.


  1. Alexander Mercouris says:

    Dear Anatoly,

    As always a good and clear post and one that should act as a cold shower on some of the speculation that is doing the rounds.

    I do want to make one point, which is that in my opinion the results of the 2007 election were exceptional. Putin was about to leave the Presidency, there was an air of uncertainty concerning the transition and there had recently been colour revolutions in the Ukraine and Georgia. The need for an overwhelming mandate for the governing party in the Duma elections was therefore seen as essential so that it could provide a barrier against any attempt by you know who to exploit the transition. The result was that the stops were pulled out with Putin putting himself at the head of UR’s election campaign, which he treated as a referendum on his Presidency. The electorate, which is much more sophisticated than is widely understood, understood what was expected of them and responded in the way required, which is why UR’s victory was so lopsided.

    The situation is much more stable today. With Putin returning to the Presidency there is no unease about a transition whilst the colour revolutions are discredited. The result is that the elections this year have been a much more low key affair with UR’s support being allowed to fall back to its natural level, which I suspect will turn out to be pretty much what it was before the unusual election of 2007.

    I will end by saying that in my opinion in the absence of any political crisis post 2007 the lopsided mandate UR achieved in 2007 with its constitutional majority have gradually come to be seen as an embarrassment. Far from regretting a fall in UR’s vote from the unnaturally high level achieved in that year I think the government would quietly welcome it. As for the ability to change the constitution, I doubt that any major constitutional change is on the cards and on past experience the opposition parties that will get into the Duma including even the Communists have shown a willingnes to work with the government on any change that proves necessary.

  2. The key element in the western media coverage of Russia is that they systematically ignore Russian opinion polls. This is regardless if the polls are conducted by by independent companies such as Gallup. This is not surprising since most of the narrative is based on the lie that Russians are disenfranchised and live in some sort of dictatorship.

    So blogs such as this one are quite valuable to expose English speakers to reality that is covered up by the mainstream media. These days the influence of the MSM is waning and for a good reason.

    • Alexander Mercouris says:

      Dear Kirill,

      On the subject of opinion polls, something very similar happened in 2009 in connection with the Presidential elections in Iran. All the opinion polls published, not just the domestic Iranian opinion polls but also a very big opinion poll organised by a US institution, pointed clearly to a landslide victory by Ahmadinejad. The western media, which dislikes Ahmadinejad, ignored these polls and instead worked itself up on the basis of certain claims made by the opposition campaign and interviews with what turned out to be an entirely unrepresentative sample of Iranian voters into thinking that the election result was too close to call and that Ahmadinejad might actually lose. When Ahmadinejad won by the landslide the opinion polls had predicted the response both by the opposition the opposition and the western media was to say that the elections had been rigged. In the event the opposition was unable to substantiate its claims of vote rigging and the best academic study has concluded that the results were not rigged.

      Russia is a completely different country from Iran and I am not comparing politics in Russia with politics in Iran or even elections in Russia with elections in Iran, where there is a heavily circumscribed choice of candidates. I merely cite this example to show that it is perverse to do that which the western media so often does, which is to prefer anecdotal evidence to that of opinion polls.

      • Yes that US institution was The Washington Post who conducted a survey three weeks before the 2009 Presidential elections across Iran and found about two-thirds of Iranians planned to vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  3. That’s quite a good campaign ad that UR’s got! Political parties in Australia have nothing on UR when it comes to election campaigning.

    I never believe anything The Guardian says about Russia these days, not since I discovered from my own reading on the Internet about Luke Daniel Harding’s plagiarism of various Moscow Times and The eXile articles while he was Moscow correspondent several years ago. And don’t get me started on the fact that he co-authored the book published by The Guardian’s parent group which gave away the Wikileaks encryption software and password that Julian Assange used to access a file containing hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables: for which Bradley Manning is paying big-time in jail and Assange doubtless will have to pay if he’s extradited to Sweden and Sweden (which has never met an evil empire it wouldn’t do business with) extradites him to the US.

    What does The Guardian stand for anyway? They’re more like The ‘Ndranguardia these days.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Over recent years I have become more and more despondent about the Guardian, which newspaper I have been reading since not long after it had dropped “Manchester” from its title.

      After a recent quiet period on the Guardian’s Russian front, the newspaper has once again gone into overdrive over the past few days with its anti-Russian line, the latest rant being one of columist Simon Tisdall’s diatribes. And the Russophobes are in full spate in the “Comment is Free” feature, where it seems any slur or slander against “the Russians” is tolerated, e.g. “I have often been told that Russians have a child-like mind” from someone that claims he studied Political Science together with Russian Studies at a United States university.

      The Guardian especially seems to tolerate the lurid comments off Russophobes who clearly write from the Baltic States and Poland, e.g. “My uncle was killed by the Russians: his throat was cut by a Tatar knife”.

      Russians or Tatars? Scratch a Russian and you’ll find a Tatar, as Buonaparte was once alleged to have said (Grattez le russe, et vous verrez un tartare); later, Reichspropogandaminister Goebbels used to wax lyrical about “Russians”, calling them “Slav subhumans”, “Bolsheviks”, “a Mongol-Tatar Horde” etc., etc.

      I really should know better than to read a sheet that on its own admission employs a plagiarist as the “Chief of the Guardian Moscow bureau”, a plagiarist, furthermore, so cossetted by his employer that any mention of his unprofessional activities causes instant censorship in the CiF section and sometimes even banishment therefrom.

      Nothing changes, really. The working-class Manchester and Salford Advertiser once called the Manchester Guardian “the foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners” and throughout the 19th century the Manchester Guardian was generally hostile to organised labour. It was also infamously hostile to the Union cause in the US Civil War as well, commenting on the news of Lincloln’s assasssination, “Of his rule, we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty …”. That was the voice of the Lancashire cotton mill owners speaking, those people whose interests the Manchester Guardian represented. It certainly wasn’t the voice of the Lancashire cotton millworkers.

      Half way through the mostly Russophobic rants in the CiF section attached to Tisdall’s recent spoutings, one commentor stated that he had had enough and that AK’s Sublime Oblivion was henceforth to be his main source of information on Russian matters. I read that comment just after I had been accused once gain of being a “sock puppet”. Even the plagiarist Harding joined CiF the other week in order to suggest that I am employed by the FSB. So with that, I decided to join that CiF commentor who had chosen to ditch the rag and turn to the blogoshere for information.

      Pity that I can’t enjoy the pleasure of cancelling a subsription though.

      • I have a half-written post titled “The Guardian: Sleaziest Newspaper in the World” which I really should finish and publish someday.

        What really revolted me about it was its treacherous and mendacious back-stabbing of Julian Assange. In their book, David Leigh and our favorite journalist Luke Harding revealed the passwords to the unencrypted version of the Wikileaks Cables. When it began leaking out into the open, Assange did the responsible thing and revealed the password to all, as all competent intelligence agencies would already have had access to it. In response – and as if its smear campaign was not already enough (it seems to have some very strange obsession with Assange) – the Guardian wrote an editorial condemning Assange as a stooge of tyrants and terrorists. Instead of having the decency to at least remain silent, the Guardian heaped the blame on Assange for their own mistakes and incompetence, and they were backed up by 90% of the “free media” on this (with the surprising exception of The Economist).

        Its “Comments is Free” section is, of course, an Orwellian joke. Look at most of its articles on Assange or Russia – both of which the Guardianistas really, really hate above all else – and its a minefield of this: “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards.”

        • Anatoly, yes please try to finish your post on the Guardian, it would be a boon to the human race to have this vile rag exposed. Can I convince you to include a couple of paragraphs on their Libyan War coverage? Guardian cheerleaded for genocide and ethnic cleaning. I need to find the link again, but at one point Guardian published an op-ed by Libyan Al Qaeda terrorist Abdelhakim Belhaj, in which Belhaj claimed to be a reformed “democracy supporter” now. To the credit of the readers, most comments dismissed this nonsense very firmly. One commenter said something like he felt he was living in a parallel universe now where Al Qaeda is suddenly the good guys, thank to propaganda rags like the Guardian!

          • Alexander Mercouris says:

            Not to mention Syria where the Guardian’s reporting has been if possible even worse than its reporting of Libya…

            • Alexander Mercouris says:

              By the way has anybody noticed that after shafting Julian Assange the Guardian now uses the US cables it got from him almost entirely to promote its Russophobic agenda? Not only was Luke Harding involved in the book Anatoly mentions but Luke Harding and the Guardian are now using the opinions of US diplomats that appear in the cables as “proof” that Russia is a kleptocracy and that Putin is a corrupt dictator. Examples of this appear in Luke Harding’s book “Mafia State” but I got the full blast of it in an encounter I had with Luke Harding last week in which he was citing the US cables as “proof” that Putin is “the richest man in Europe”, that the Russian power structure is “the biggest system of corruption in history” existed and that Russia “bought” Berlusconi who is its stooge.

        • Yes I’m also looking forward to AK’s post. He will probably have enough material to publish several volumes so I am feeling a bit torn between suggesting things he could include and saying, please let him write!

          Correct me if I’m wrong but I think there was something on Counterpunch.org that mentioned that the whole time Luke Daniel Harding was in Moscow years ago that he failed to notice the level of corruption among UK oil companies in the Caspian Sea area. I’ll have to look up that article.

          • Possible explanation: British oil companies can sue Harding in Britain, and unlike with Russian ones, the judges aren’t going to say they’re full of BS!

            • Of course! And British oil companies could have PAID Harding in advance not to say anything. Thanks for that, AK.

              I found the Counterpunch article I was thinking of. The link is at http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/02/25/cable-cooking-and-the-war-on-assange/

              You’ll notice that Israel Shamir is the writer and he comes in for a lot of abuse at The “Ndranguardia. One day Wikipedia will devote an entire article to the mud-slinging he suffers just from that sleaze rage alone. Might only last one minute before being taken down but it would be worth it.

        • The surprising exception of Economist – It is surely just a coincidence that the law firm—Finers Stephens Innocent —which represents Julian Assange and set up the Julian Assange Defense Fund is also legal adviser to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust; that the partially Rothschild-owned Economist gave Assange its 2008 Freedom of Expression Award; that Lord Rothschild is deputy chairman of BSkyB, whose warmongering chairman Rupert Murdoch and his propagandist father were lauded as fearless advocates of the truth by the WikiLeaks founder in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned The Australian…


      • That was me who made the comment on CiF! I was writing as Nausika and I remember saying also AK is much better looking than the hacks at The ‘Ndranguardia!

  4. This piece today by propagandist Julia Ioffe shows the expected line of Western MSM in regard to Duma elections. Ioffe’s main point, and I guess the main point of this piece, is to agitate for some NGO called “Golos” [I never heard of them], apparently there was some incident with them yesterday, they were accused of being a CIA front and had to pay a fine in court, now looks like Western MSM is going to turn this incident into a war of words and use to illegitimize Duma elections if results not to their (West’s) liking. Ioffe seem to be positioning herself so that she can say “I told you so” regardless of election results. If United Russia does better than expected, she will cry vote fraud; whereas if United Russia does not do as well as expected, she can claim that the Russian electorate is completely demoralized and the system is broken.

    • Alexander Mercouris says:

      Dear Yalensis,

      Though I follow Russian news closely I too had never heard of Golos until a few days ago. Now it is all over the news. The BBC in its television coverage of the Russian elections today focuses entirely on Golos, which it describes as Russia’s only independent election observer.

    • Yalensis, the Golos (the Voice) was fined for violation the rule not to lobby for any candidates.

      Here is an informative video :

      They receive salaries from the USAaid. Good salaries ))
      They train paid volunteers, tell them they they must find some violations in the process of election, and give them examples of such violations. Then they create a Violation Map. If there was, for example, is a picture of a candidate on the wall with the drawn fake mustaches – it is violation. If the guard at the voting place is a firefighter instead of a police officer – gross violation )) As a result these paid volunteers create a hurricane of papers (they have to since they are paid 2000 rubles per day )
      The head of the group that monitors Russian election refused to give interview to the TV station. He repeated almost 90 times in 5 minutes the same words, “Surkov’s propaganda” to the questions ))))
      Supposedly they receive almost $400, 000 per election each…
      Not sure it is true. But people who receive somebody’s money serve those “somebody’s” interests.

      • Thank you for that link, Andor.

        It does indeed cast a very serious challenge to Golos’ claims of independence and impartiality.

        • Kurwastan says:

          Whether you “agree” with the claims of either Golos or not, the NTV video is pure propaganda.

      • Thanks for video, Andor. Very informative, especially the bits about the role of the Swedish ambassador. American State Dept seems to out-source a lot of their anti-Russian psy-ops to Swedes.
        Now that I am more informed about “Golos”, this helps put in perspective the Julia Ioffe piece. American MSM is using people like Julia for a psychological effect known in the theater world as the Chekhov’s Gun Device. This device is named after the scene in Chekhov’s play “Uncle Vanya” where a random pistol is shown early in the play (to establish the fact that there is a pistol), and then this pistol is used in a crucial dramatic scene later in the play. If the pistol had NOT been shown earlier, the viewer would say, “Wait a minute, Uncle Vanya just grabbed a gun and tried to shoot somebody, but where did that freaking gun come from?” Similarly, Julia is introducing to Western readers the concept of “Golos” and how they are being repressed and shut down by Putin. So later, after the Duma election is complete, Western propaganda will claim that the entire vote was rigged, and use the “Golos” incident as proof of this. And American readers will say, “Ah yes, I heard of Golos, I listened to that piece on NPR, Golos are the good guys who are trying to ensure an honest election.”

        • alexander mercouris says:

          Dear Yalensis,

          The Guardian has now published its editorial on the elections and exactly as you predicted it says a lot about Golos. In all other respects it is what one might have predicted. One thing for me stood out. It claims that if it had not had illicit support according to “pollsters and independent analysts” UR’s support would have been just 30%. Who are these “pollsters” the Guardian is referring to. I have never seen an opinion poll that puts UR’s support at 30%.

          AK Edit: For reference, the Guardian editorial in question is here.

          • Me neither. The lowest I saw came from ISI (link), at 49%.

            They might have cherry-picked this poll by Bashkirova and Partners, which gives an anomalously low figure of 30%. But this was either mendacity or stupidity on the Guardian Editors’ part, because in their poll “Not Decided”, “Won’t Vote” and “No Party Suits Me” were options (which are obviously NOT options on the electoral list).

            • Mmmmmm…interesting. Alex Jones’ “InfoWars” reports Golos, as well as being funded by USAID, “lists [as] its foreign partners… the US “regime change” specialists National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), two of the major US sponsors of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, among other adventures.” Additionally Golos received a “generous grant” from NED to carry out detailed analyses of Russian elections. You’ll have to get the cached version of Golos’ website, as the live one appears to have been taken down or is too busy.


              Alex was wrong about one thing – his speculation that the USA would never allow a Russian or Chinese-funded NGO with a track record of advocating and assisting regime change to fund political organizations in the U.S. In fact, the American ruling that corporations are “persons” and therefore there can be no restrictions on corporate sponsorship of political parties signified the U.S. does not give a rip where the money comes from, and considers itself impervious to regime change.

              • Thanks for link, Mark, I had not seen that one, although I try to follow Alex Jones as much as I can. (He is one of my guilty pleasures, but his channel is sometimes hard to find and follow.) Some people consider Alex to be a right-wing kook, but, hey, when something is rotten in the state of Denmark, sometimes the Fool is the only guy who tells the truth. Here is the piece that won me over: Alex’s expose of Al Qaeda in Libya, who else in the West besides Noam Chomsky had the guts to say such things out loud:

                “Al Qaeda’s dark secret exposed” video by Alex Jones:

  5. UR 48.5% -according to preliminary exit poll survey

    Kent Härstedt (S) the leader of ten Swedish election observers who are in Russia on behalf of the OSCE comments regarding speculations of alleged election fraud:
    – We have not seen a hint of it.

    He also remarked that election authorities generally were welcoming but noted an incident described as “almost a little uncomfortable”

    -They (election officials) questioned what we were doing and they wanted to know where we would travel next. They also wanted us to write some sort of proof that everything was handled well.

    Sounds quite OUTRAGEOUS, i’d say!

    • rosbalt.ru just reported that, according to exit polls. United Russia might have received as low as 46%. KPRF possibly as much as 21%. Putin/Medvedev are stunned at this defeat. Many people will not agree with me, but I personally think this could be a good thing if it helps to move Russia further Left and back towards socialism. Also possible silver lining: if final numbers for UR are low as they seem, then this could be the end of Medvedev’s career. Putin should be still okay for Prez, unless something happens between now and then. It is just that he will have to do a lot more parliamentary wheeling and dealing, especially with Communists.

      • Alexander Mercouris says:

        Dear Yalensis,

        We are indeed getting resullts now. I would point that the UR result of 46-48% is exactly in line with the opinion polls mentioned by Anatoly in his post and still represents an advance over the 37% UR won in 2003. I do not see this as a “defeat” for Putin or Medvedev but rather as a return to more normal politics following the exceptional election of 2007. See my earlier comment to this post.

        The big result of this election and surely the big pointer for the future is the very strong swing to the left with the Communists polling if the exit polls are to be believed around 20% and A Just Russia doing much better than originally expected at between 12-14%, It is even possible that A Just Russia may have overtaken the Liberal Democrats. I ought to add that if you judge them by their rhetoric and their programme A Just Russia is well to the left of Social Democratic parties in Europe. It seems that the left wing parties are now successfully winning over educated young voters in big numbers.

        Whatever else it is UR is not a right wing party. In fact it is difficult to say what position in the right to left wing spectrum it occupies, which is surely its problem. The Liberal Democrats call themselves a right wing party but in truth they seem to be super patriots. To the extent that the Liberal Democrats make a nationalist pitch their failure to do better (if the exit polls are to be believed) should bury
        once and for all the idea that there is a huge, ultra nationalist, xenophobic, anti immigration sentiment in Russia, Navalny and others who appear to think otherwise please note.

        As for the real right wing or if you prefer bourgeois parties, Yabloko and Right Cause, they have done dismally as always, failing entirely to capitalise on UR’s slippage and once again failing to get into the Duma. As in 2003 they would not have got into the Duma even if the threshold had been brought down to 5%.

        As a progressively minded person I think these results are excellent and from the point of view of Russia’s future I think they are as Putin says “optimal”. As for western observers what these results should teach them is that Russian politics beats to its drum and that beat is on the left.

        • Whatever else it is UR is not a right wing party. In fact it is difficult to say what position in the right to left wing spectrum it occupies, which is surely its problem.

          That’s because UR has a huge amount of internal variety – far more so than any of the other parties. According to insiders, it is divided into four major “discussion clubs”: liberal conservative, social conservative, state patriotic, and even a liberal club. The Russian Wiki has a great summary. There were at one point even discussions to split into three to contest the 2007 Duma elections, but they were dropped.

  6. So let me follow your commentary:

    The elections are clean. Exit polls are legit. One Swedish OSCE monitor didn’t see fraud. Golos are CIA stooges. Western press are propagandists. Communists and the liberals are creating fraud. Anyone reporting on election fraud is anti-Russian. The Russian electorate loves Putin and his party.

    But, maybe think about it differently. What if:

    The elections are actually not clean? What if the legit exit polls, that you admitted are legit, show ER under 50% and are correct? What if the OSCE only permitted to visit a handful of “selected” polling stations? What if Golos receives U.S. money only for the reason because they wouldn’t exist otherwise? What if Western press corps don’t have a specific agenda and are merely reporting on what they see and hear based on conversations in Russia (not in San Francisco)? What if ER is using administrative resources to ensure results are in their favor? What if people who are reporting on election fraud actually are patriots who care about their countries future? What if more Russians are tired of Putin and his party?

    Finally, isn’t it pig-headedness and naive to not consider any of these options as being possibilities?

    • 10 swedish OSCE monitors didn’t observe the mere hint of election fraud.
      Anyway if the election result really were, to any extent, systematically manipulated wouldn’t it be reasonable for UR to perform better than 48-49% when independent opinion polls have indicated figures in the 52-55%-range. The election results do not scream fraud, so far anyone can agree.

    • What if you actually bring evidence and logic to your arguments? 😯

      • Kurwastan says:

        Or you can simply choose to ignore it. Which I’d expect one can easily do.

        • Let me clarify. By itself, a list of “нарушения на выборах” is pretty meaningless for a whole variety of reasons because we frequently don’t know:

          (1) Their actual impact / magnitude.
          (2) Which parties it benefits – is it really plausible that every single violation would have been to UR’s benefit?
          (3) Who organized it – “lone wolves” or apparatchiks? Or was it because of bureaucratic mistakes and incompetence?

          There were so many irregularities in the 2004 US Presidential election that there is an entire Wiki article dedicated to it, that however is a far cry from branding it illegitimate (despite the margin between Kerry and Bush being far lower than between UR and the rest).

    • Foreign press corps isn’t there to report the truth but to confirm the preconceptions. It doesn’t matter if they are based in New York, Tokyo or Moscow.

    • @Kurwastan: I suppose all of those options you listed are theoretically possible …

      • alexander mercouris says:

        Dear Kurwastan,

        Let me respond to each one of your points:

        1. There is no reason to think that overall the elections are not clean. The results are broadly in line with opinion polls. It is acknowledged that there have been some violations in some places but no evidence has been produced of systematic fraud or falsification of the results. I would add that alleging electoral fraud is a very serious matter. If you think electoral fraud is going on please show me your reasons for thinking it. It is or should be for those who make such a serious allegation to substantiate it. It is unreasonable and unfair to shift onto those who cannot see it the onus of proving a negative.

        2. I do think the exit polls are legitimate and since they are consistent with the results that are coming out they provide further reason to think that the elections are clean and the results are genuine.

        3. I may be wrong about this but I have not heard the OSCE complain that they are only being shown selected polling stations. If the OSCE is not making this complaint then there are no grounds to make it for them.

        4. I too think Golos would not exist without western money. The source of Golos’s money is a factor in assessing its objectivity, which is what is at issue.

        5. This point about the western press is fundamental. The western press overwhelmingly supports and writes about people who in this election are identified with parties that are together struggling to get more than 3% of the total vote. Surely the problem is that in reporting Russia the western media is giving this 3% a totally disproportionate amount of attention?

        6. This question of administrative resources is a red herring. If people are saying in opinion polls that they intend to vote in a certain way and then do so there is no reason to doubt that they have voted in the way they want. As this is what is happening in the elections in Russia there is no reason to suppose that administrative resources have played any significant part at all.

        7. Whether the people who complain about electoral fraud are patriots or not is neither here nor there. The issue is not whether these people are patriots (the Communists certainly are) but whether or not there actually has been any fraud.

        8. No doubt some Russians are tired of Putin and his party but not enough it seems to have had any significant effect on the overall result.

        As for the issue of naivety and pig headedness, surely the charge is misplaced? Surely the naivety and pig-headedness is to be found in those who continue to insist that there has been electoral fraud even after they have been asked to provide evidence and can provide none.

        • Number 6 is one of the most inane tropes of the western media. I suppose third parties in the USA get lots of air time and attention. LOL. At least in Russia people know about Yabloko and have plenty of opportunities to hear their pitch. Hell, they have whole radio stations (Echo Moscvy) devoted to covering them. Try to find that in Canada or the US.

          Even in Canada, which in many ways is more like Europe than the US, there is outright selectivity on which parties get attention. None of the few percent parties get coverage (if there is any, then it is token like say on CBC radio at 9 am on a weekday when everyone is at work). When the Green Party broke above 10% popular support it started to get attention, and basically none until then. For the decades I have been Canada it has always been about the Liberals, “Conservatives” and NDP.

          The west can’t expect parties with less than 7% support in Russia to form governments. This sort of thing does not occur in the west. Why is the west so obsessed with Russia?

  7. In the land of Have-Your-Cake-and-Eat-it-Too, there is no good news for the ruling party in Russia; conversely, there is no such thing as bad news to the western press looking for a Dastardly Backward Russia story. If United Russia wins with a landslide, the election was rigged and they stole it. If United Russia wins with around 40% or so, it was a rout for UR and the people spoke with one voice, shouting, “throw the bums out”. But the narrative must reflect either that the liberals were robbed, or that they made huge gains. It can never say that the liberals are the perennial losers, because they are full of big ideas but have absolutely no idea how to begin implementing them. If The Plan was laid out on a blackboard, it’d have the phrase, “People want huge advances in personal freedom, but want the government to be responsible for enforcing the law and managing the economy while steadily raising wages and pensions, without running a deficit and without interfering in their freedoms”, followed by an arrow leading to a rectangle which reads, “Here a miracle occurs”, followed by an “equals” symbol and “PARADISE”!!!! Of course everybody wants complete freedom and a big paycheque with no responsibility; sign me up. But everything comes with tradeoffs – if you want more of this, you have to give up a little of that.

    Russia’s liberals seem to be the last people on the planet to grasp that. Maybe the western press just follows them out of curiosity. But the voters don’t seem to be fooled.

    • Interestingly, I was thinking the exact mirror image. “If UR gets over 55%, it will show that UR enjoys broad popular support! If not, it will show the elections were clean and fair!”

      My prediction — which I wish now that I’d made publicly! — was that UR would get their numbers sharply reduced, but would end up with a comfortable handful over 50% of a majority of seats.

      Note that UR has not actually lost anything of significance. They’re still the majority party and they don’t have to go into coalition with anyone. They can’t unilaterally amend the Constitution, but that’s not a power they were using much anyhow — there’s only been one package of significant amendments, and that was back in 2008. (The ones that extended the presidential and parliamentary terms.) So that’s a pretty trivial loss.

      In terms of actual power, they’re almost precisely where they were last week. And they will continue there for the next five years.

      Doug M.

      • “If UR gets over 55%, it will show that UR enjoys broad popular support! If not, it will show the elections were clean and fair!”

        I can’t see that happening in the western press. The way they tell it, UR lost all support except for the hardcore partisan and the corrupt years ago, and have been simply propping themselves up with cheating ever since. A huge victory would merely bear out this narrative. Besides, such pre-election reporting serves to boost expectations so that the totals UR ended up with (virtually vote-for-vote with the pre-election polls) look like a loss.

        Similarly, all the predictions about the opposition being “energized” (the Associated Press uses those very words, in a broadside that attempts to capture everything by saying that even though UR lost votes, the election was still rigged) are borne out, and Nemtsov is wheeled in to deliver his signature lines about Putin’s rule collapsing “like a house of cards”.


        The suggestion about a big victory indicating broad popular support for UR might not look out of place in RT, but I can’t imagine any western media source making such a connection. After all, western media sources regularly ignore even exit polls in Russia, and their remarkable coincidence with the vote count is routinely dismissed as more smoke and mirrors from a state that has never had a fair democratic vote since Yeltsin The Great Reformer took power. Also, I’d find it hard to imagine any western source willing to say the elections were clean and fair unless UR lost cataclysmically.

        Otherwise, I completely agree with your analysis; UR has not really lost anything, and its sliding a bit in the popular vote (after nonstop western pressure to achieve exactly that) no more presages the twilight of Putin than it does the return of Elvis. Don’t start measuring the drapes in the Kremlin just yet, Boris.

        • Actually, I was thinking “this is the analysis I’ll see over at SO”.

          Doug M.

          • Well actually, I explicitly said that a result greater than 60% would be “fishy”, and one over 65% would indicate systematic rigging.

            I was expecting 50-55% on the basis of the most recent pre-elections polls.

        • The way they tell it, UR lost all support except for the hardcore partisan and the corrupt years ago, and have been simply propping themselves up with cheating ever since.

          Don’t forget the mental health patients and those shiftless Caucasian darkies. Why oh why could not Russia be more like Moscow Times readers?

          • “Why oh why could not Russia be more like Moscow Times readers?”
            Because if it was, then Russia would have long ago been reduced to just the area around Moscow. (Everything else would have been broken up into little bombed-out republics joining NATO.)

  8. alexander mercouris says:

    Dear Mark,

    I agree with you. In what other country would winning 50% of the vote in a parliamentary election not be reported as a landslide?

  9. With 95% of the votes counted, the numbers are shaping up as follows: UR = 50%, KPRF = 19%, Just Russia = 13%, Zhirinovsky = 12%. Main thing is that UR lost their super-majority in Duma, they cannot just pass any law they like any more, they will have to form coalitions and learn to compromise. I see this as a good thing. Russians clearly want more democracy, they just don’t want their leaders decided by foreign NGO’s, if they did they would have voted for Yabloko.
    Re. Mr. Medvedev, pundits differ as to what all this mean for his career. I think this election is a clear slap at him, his weak and disastrous policies over the past 4 years, Russia not being as prepared for 2008 world economic crisis as it should have been, his weak and appeasing foreign policy, and so on. After presidential elections, assuming Putin wins, does anybody think Medvedev will still get the PM job after such a poor showing? I think the KPRF should obvioiusly get that post as they are now the second most popular party. And Putin is a crafty politician: he will adapt to the new reality, and I think/hope that he will ditch Medvedev.

    • “I think the KPRF should obvioiusly get that post”

      The KPRF will of course not get that post. Is Nick Clegg the PM of Great Britain? Is the Chancellor of Germany named Philip Roesler? Sheesh.

      It’s interesting that everyone is jumping to blame Medvedev. Normally when a party loses a quarter of its support fingers get pointed at the leader of the party in Parliament, i.e., the Prime Minister. Nope — the ashes are getting heaped on the head of the hapless President.

      What happens to Medvedev after the election is a different and more interesting question. But I see no reason why Putin — sorry, I mean United Russia — would particularly want him as PM. They’ll either make him Foreign Minister, or fob him off with a sinecure, would be my guesses.

      Doug M.

      • @Doug: Well, yeah, you’re probably right that KPRF won’t get the PM job. I think and hope they should, but that’s just my opinion. Re. Nick Clegg, I seem to remember some speculation at the time that he would get the PM? It would not have been unprecedented.
        Re. blaming Medvedev instead of Putin: Maybe it is not technically fair, in the schoolyard sense, but I have a feeling that is precisely what will happen: Medvedev will be the scapegoat and Putin will be standing above it all, like lofty Napoleon. We shall see…

        I just saw an interesting quote from Ziuganov, he is ASTOUNDED at the level of voter fraud, I guess he was expecting 40%? Ziuganov says this is the most impressive case of vote-rigging he has ever seen in his life. That means a lot, coming from an old Commie like him…. LOL !

        • Ahhh…nostalgia. I was just thinking back to a time when anything the Communists said would be automatically presumed a lie, rather than passed on uncritically as the absolute truth. Of course, that was the Old West; in the New West, toppling governments for fun and profit and installing former ideological enemies (al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood) as leaders is all the rage.

          • “installing former ideological enemies…” Ha ha! West has no problem doing business with Al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood types, but I think they draw the line at Reds. Western MSM still haven’t quite figured out how to play this one. Election was rigged, but still was massive defeat for Putin? Who do they hate more? Putin or Communists? Will they claim Ziuganov got robbed of his rightful victory? I doubt it!

    • Finally got round to reading this. Бред полнейший ИМХО.

      • Ох. I see you have trouble comprehending a fairly trivial article, so let me help you out.

        If we ignore the smug tone and skip all the Captain Obvious stuff, then about the only thing left is the author’s rough (на глазок) quantitative breakdown of the UR’s fifty (give or take) percent result: “25% искренних сторонников + 15% подневольных + 10% фиктивных.” What’s your breakdown?

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    Hilary Clinton is “seriously concerned” over allegations of improprieties in the Russian election.

    • She would be since pretty serious ones occur in US elections (I know of one case in Ohio from the 2004 presidential elections). The western media and governments spend a lot of time b*tching about issues in non-west countries so that there is no heat on domestic abuses. In so called Putin-oppressed Russia the media and government could never pull off such cheap psychological diversions.

    • Hillary is such a kind and gentle person. Her “concern” for the nations and peoples of the world is touching. Here she is reacting to the horrific news of a man’s brutal death at the hands of a mob:

    • Thousands of OWS’ers have been arrested and the US recently passed a law that could be interpreted as enabling the indefinite lock-up without trial of any citizen who is a terrorist suspect, but its irregularities in the Russian election that Hillary is “concerned” about.

      Makes sense.

      • Looks to me like Hilary needs to be on the two-syllable diet; no foods that have two syllables, such as twinkies, ice cream, hot dogs, french fries, etc… Otherwise, Pentagon research teams are going to have to occupy themselves with discovering some new miracle fabric for pantsuits, while Air Force One goes in to have its seats widened.

        “We came, we saw, he died” is an extremely curious response from the SecState of a country which intervened on humanitarian grounds and with a mandate only to protect civilians. Yes, yes, I know – the mandate was purposefully made so broad that it included everything short of theatre nukes in support of protecting civilians, but there ought to be a limit on how much barefaced lying you can do and still expect international credibility.

        • I know. Hillary could have at least tried to be a tad less brazen. She could have shed a crocodile tear and maybe quoted Cicero instead of Julius Caesar: “O tempora! O mores!” “How awful that it had to come to this, snif…snif….”

  11. “Hilary Clinton is “seriously concerned” over allegations of improprieties in the Russian election.”

    SOP in western governments, which move in quickly with a soundbite quote to lend those allegations substance, and thereby get them up and walking before someone else can say “what allegations?” This is as predictable as the “I’m not going to dignify these allegations with a response” that is likewise SOP when western governments are accused of electioneering irregularities themselves.

    • Is she “concerned” that KPRF did not get all the votes it was entitled to? LOL!

      • I think if UR couldn’t win, I’d rather see the Communists lead the country than the Liberals. At least the Communists would likely sit down and think about the national implications of accepting western urging to privatize everything and let the free market sort things out. The Liberals wouldn’t give it a second thought. A good rule of thumb should be, if it would make Yulya Latynina, Yevgenia Albats, Boris Nemtsov and “Kimmie Zigfeld” happy – it’s a bad idea.

        • Sounds like a plan. I will attach litmus paper to those individuals, and formulate my opinions accordingly!

  12. According to a report released by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Monday, the vote saw frequent procedural violations, and in some cases obvious manipulation. The OSCE said there was also strong evidence pointing to the existence of additional ballots in favor of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.


    The country has never seen such a dirty election,” said Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, who dismissed the official results as “theft on an especially grand scale.”

    Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who has compared United Russia to the Soviet Communist Party and advised Putin not to return to the presidency, said the election was “not the most honest.”

    “We do not have real democracy and we will not have it if the government is afraid of their people, afraid to say things openly,” Gorbachev, the father of far-reaching reforms in the final years of the Soviet Union, said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

    • Gorbachev’s reforms couldn’t have been that far-reaching, considering everything in today’s Russia needs to be reformed according to western think-tanks.

      Organizations like the OSCE always claim there is “strong evidence” of something fishy going on, but oddly enough, never produce it. Doesn’t matter at all to the screeching parrots, who simply repeat the message as if they had seen it themselves.

      The west idolizes Gorby and Yeltsin, because they said, “The west is right; we must model ourselves along western lines and do as the west advises”. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that Yeltsin almost destroyed the country.

      • If only it were that Russia had to be like the west. No, it had to be like a good little banana republic. To this day the typical 3rd world parasite oligarchs are bemoaned as oppressed by Putin (e.g. Khodorkovsky). You know, the popularly elected leader can’t dare touch these neo-colonialist west approved compradors. So the problem is that the west never wanted Russia to join it. They wanted another colony. Russia gave them the middle finger so they huff and puff screeching lies and pining for regime change. They are going to have to change Russians, not just the regime if they want a poodle.

  13. Olga or Oleg? Same cut and paste drivel style.

    If the election was so rigged then how come UR got 35% in St. Petersburg? Get real and get a grip. The OSCE is a western government mouthpiece and not some angelic independent organization. It was the same outfit that paved the way for the NATO attack on Serbia in March of 1999 by yapping about 2000 dead “Kosovars” when the number consisted of 800 dead Serbs and 1200 dead Albanians most of whom were KLA militants.

    People can get a full view of the results at: http://www.gazeta.ru/maps/elections2011/russia.shtml

    • Gender change to evade the spam filter? Some of these people really are dedicated. LOL.

    • Why does Russia have to endure OSCE any more? Are they not just a relic of the Cold War defeat and Time of Troubles? Maybe is time to throw them out of Russia. Surely Russia can develop her own election monitors that are party-independent?

  14. grafomanka says:

    Some thoughts about election

    1) Fraud and irregularities reported – however they seem not to have affected the results significantly because they correlate with exit polls and opinion polls (apparently even Surkov admitted that the ‘irregularities’ were present but on industrial scale). I’ve read various estimation, ranging from alarmist to conservative – the consensus seems to be that fraud was on the level with 2007 election.

    2) In Moscow media reported big difference between exit polls and the official results (something like 30 vs 46) And the most disturbing ballot stuffing stories were coming from Moscow. So Muscovites have a reason to feel disenfranchised.

    3) Big discrepancy between ethnic minorities regions and ‘Russian’ regions. North Caucasus givs EdRo around 90%, Bashkiria and Tatarstan – around 70% and 77%.
    I’m sure skinheads love it – for them another argument that interests of ethnic Russians are compromised.

    • The discrepancy between exit polls and results does seem huge in Moscow (at least for one the pollsters, FOM – anyone have the figures for the other main exit poller, WCIOM?).

      Also interesting to note that 37% of Muscovites refused to answer – I wonder if that had any relationship to whom they voted for. And anyone know what “% от плановой выборки” refers to?

      Siberian Light has an interesting post discussing the effect if the Caucasus results were brought down to the Russian average, i.e. a drop of 2% overall nationally.

      • Just a hunch, but I suspect the Bashkir/Tatarstan results are fair. But 91% in Dagestan? Really?? I might have guessed 70%, but anything over 90% is simply ridiculous. Seems like the local adminstrators in Chechnya and Dagestan did yeoman’s work getting out the vote for UR. Tammany Hall would have been proud! What would have happened if UR had come in at 47% nationally? Things could have gotten interesting…

    • So basically zero to link the exit poll differences and actual irregularities. If stuffing was going to be on the menu then you would expect it to occur in places like Vladivostok, but there UR got less than 33%.

      People seem to forget that parties in Russia, including Yabloko, are based around personalities. It matters a hoot to “dictator” Putin what UR performs like at the polls. He can form a new party and have them get to the top with his own personal popularity. All the “analysis” I see on western TV channels is drivel. UR results are *not* a referendum on Putin. This is just the wishful thinking the western MSM endlessly engages in.

      • I agree. This has everything to do with Medvedev, and very little to do with Putin. I predict Putin will come out smelling like a rose and will be elected Prez with a very respectable plurality. Only difference is that he will not be Caesar any more, he will have to deal with an actual rambunctious parliament. He might be booed a few times. He has thick skin. He will be fine.

        • alexander mercouris says:

          Dear Kirill and Yalensis,

          I have no doubt that Putin will win the Presidency by a convincing margin. He is more popular than UR, which got 49% so he will have no difficulty winning without run off.

          Incidentally I just thought I would mention that both The Times and the Independent here have said in editorials that turnout was low. The Independent appears to be claiming that turnout was just 50%. The actual turnout was 60%, which was just 3% lower than in 2007 but 5% higher than in 2003.

        • And when Putin duly gets his 60% I am already seeing the liberals and Western MSM ranting on about how that election was far more rigged even than the extremely rigged Duma one.

          • The commission chairman spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job. He also said he could be punished for disobeying orders to report any contact with foreign observers or journalists to the FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

            His account closely matches reports by independent observers of rampant vote-rigging during Sunday’s election, in which United Russia maintained its majority in parliament. Amateur videos posted on the Internet also appeared to show falsified ballots spilling out of boxes at polling stations.


            • More cut and paste inanity. I wonder how the opinion polls were rigged. I guess anything goes in the minds of the typical tin foil hatter.

          • Are you implying Western MSM is already writing their reporting and analysis in advance of an event that hasn’t happened yet? Shocking! They have to write 2 sets of headlines: (1) Extra Extra! Putin sneakily stole election! or (2) Extra Extra! Angry Russians deliver righteous blow to Putin’s presidential hopes! (3) Or, in the case of Julia Ioffe, they can simply cut and paste from both sets of prepared stories to create a mishmash.

      • grafomanka says:

        And why would Vladivostok stuff the boxes and not Moscow? In larger Russia Moscow has certain opinion, and it’s not a good one.
        Have a look at this, if you care http://cifidiol.livejournal.com/1600.html – nice story with pictures of documents.

        • It’s the typical pattern, including in the USA and Canada, that less developed regions have the most electoral irregularities. Ever hear of Louisiana electoral corruption?

          All the conspiracy theorizing why UR is not getting 15% or less of the vote is really pathetic. So who are Russians supposed to vote for? The KPRF? A dinosaur with zero appeal, at least it could have reformed itself like all the other eastern European communists. Instead it is trapped in a timewarp with Zhyuganov playing the role of a living fossil as leader for life. The LDPR? A clown party that seems to get some sort of protest vote by people who feel that the mainstream is not nationalist enough. Yabloko? Anything new from Yavlinsky since the 1990s? Shock therapy was such a roaring success, surely any party that supported it must have the support of a majority of Russians. Also, browbeating Russians about how un-west they are is the ticket to success in electoral politics. Right Deal? More monetarist witchdoctors who think Russians should vote themselves into a banana republic.

          This leaves Just Russia. It is quite normal for parties to take more than one election cycle to rise. I am hoping that Just Russia does much better next time and does not fade away. Russia needs more than one mainstream party. For now UR is the mainstream, centrist choice because it has no real competition. In most of the west, the biggest amounts of votes go to centrists. Not fringe flakes with insane agendas. Like has been raised on numerous occasions: the current electoral results are in line with opinion polls. Quite tightly, BTW. So all the yapping about ballot stuffing and absence of free and fair elections (as per Clinton, etc.) is simple rubbish.

          • Hey! Maybe Ziuganov IS a dinosaur, but some people like dinosaurs… Besides, he is a very smart dinosaur.
            Actually, I would personally prefer to see a really cool and modernistic socialist opposition that respects Soviet past without necessarily tracing their roots back to Stalin. But that is just my fantasy. For now, KPRF is at least trying to do something to keep the oligarchs in check, so I am happy to see them getting more seats.

        • Hi, grafomanka, thank you for this very interesting link from the blog of a Yabloko election observer.
          This guy observed a small voting area (#6) in Moscow. He claims the following: A total of 697 people voted at that station. Voting was fair, counting was not (according to him). Initial counting of the votes was this: Yabloko=134, UR=128, leaving (if my math is correct) 435 for combination of KP and incorrect ballots.
          Later, the results that were certified were as followed: Yabloko=4, UR=515, leaving only 178 for KP. If this Yabloko guy is telling the truth, that mean KP was robbed of 257 votes, just in this one tiny voting place. (Yabloko was robbed too, of course, but I personally don’t care about them!)
          Multiply this tiny microcosm by what happened all over the country, and it starts to look like Ziuganov was right when he claimed this was the worst vote-rigging he had ever seen in his life!

          • Which makes the allegations of the “observer” total bunkum. KPRF is simply not mainstream enough to get this level of support. It is not surprising at all that UR did well in Moscow compared to St. Petersburg and Vladivostok. Moscow has the highest GDP per capita and actual standard of living in the country. Why do people expect to see some sort of Libya style protests in Moscow? The KPRF would be doing better in regions with bigger economic problems and this is where the robbery of votes would be taking place.

            • @kirill

              Not to mention migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia under Putins watch who would likely vote for his party.

            • grafomanka says:

              kirill & alexander

              Voting the way this unfortunate guy says has nothing do do with “national averages” or even Moscow averages – this is just a little poling station! Wide variations are to be expected.
              Besides the only exit poll for Moscow I heard of – FOM – gave EdRo 23 %! Has anyone got data from some other exit polls?

              • alexander mercouris says:

                Is the Yabloko observer Andrei Finikov? If so he comes across more like an activist than an observer.

              • FOM gave 46% to UR nationally (including the very anomalous results for Moscow).

                WCIOM game 48.5% to UR, which is closer to the real results. Unfortunately, I have not seen their regional breakdowns.

              • Incidentally, I find the reports of mass theft from Yabloko hard to credit. They did more than twice as good as pre-elections Levada polls predicted them to!

                And in any case, it is far, far easier to stuff ballots (e.g. for UR directly) than to actually go through the trouble of sifting through them and destroying votes for undesirables.

              • My hunch is that real % for UR nationwide was probably something like 46-47%, and then they conveniently skimmed themselves a couple of extra points through vote-rigging. How they did it is beyond me – I have never understood the actual mechanics of election shenanigans but I suppose Tammany Hall would know these little tricks.
                Western MSM is starting to develop their new line of attack today, claiming that UR only got 40%. I suppose they think Nemtsov deserves the other 60%? That is ridiculous, of course. But expect more propaganda barrages and calls for a re-vote. Gorbachov has chimed in on this [why is that f**king traitor still alive?? – you didn’t hear me say that ]….
                Agreeing to a re-vote would amount to a color revolution.

              • Giuseppe Flavio says:

                The name of the observer is Dmitri, not Andrei.

              • My hunch is that falsifications were on the order of 4-5% (the difference between turnout as predicted by polls, and real turnout) and about 70% of falsifications accrued to UR, another 20% to Fair Russia (the St.-Petersburg elections seem to have been as dirty as Moscow’s, just pro-FR), and maybe 10% in favor of the other parties.

          • grafomanka says:

            Even if there were many instances of vote rigging like this in Moscow still doesn’t mean that it had an effect in a city of 11 million people (If Zuganov meant what he said wouldn’t he be protesting?). But it certainly made a lot of people angry.

            As for KPRF …if they won the country would look like Ukraine in no time – poor and in debt.

            I agree with Surkov – Russia needs a modern ‘urban’ party. Pity that he failed to organize it.

            • Giuseppe Flavio says:

              It isn’t Surkov duty to organise such a party, and even if it were, he or anyone else would fail. To paraphrase a British officer that was in charge of a camp for Italian POW during WWII “It is not impossible to organise the Russian liberals, it is useless”.

              • alexander mercouris says:

                On the subject of the Yabloko observer I have to agree with Kirill. Voting on the lines he says is so far out of line with national opinion polls and exit polls that it simply isn’t credible. I say this as someone who has a lot of time for Zyuganov. The fact that the Yabloko observer is making such incredible claims to my mind simply discredits her or him.

                As for Surkov the elections to my mind expose him not as the great backstairs Machiavellian puppet master that many believe but as a fantasist out of touch with reality. It is clear for some time that his great project is to create a liberal party that can get into the parliament so that it can presumably can as a counterbalance to the Communists and A Just Russia on the left. That seems to have been what the Right Cause project was all about. These elections and the debacle of Right Cause show that a sufficiently large consituency for such a party in Russia simply does not exist. Surkov’s obsessive attempts to create such a party are simply a waste of time.

              • And that’s why Prokhorov was booted out. Instead of arguing the right-wing views he was supposed to (and actually believes in), he tried to hijack Right Cause and take it in a leftist direction. Doing so would have created a threat to Fair Russia. Not acceptable.

            • I think Ziuganov was being a tad hyperbolic and also expressing his grudging respect, as one professional politician to another!

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    In the Evil Empire, where any journalist that criticises the present regime or its leader is summarily liquidated forthwith by Orcs on the orders of Sauron, one particular scribe seems to exhibit a charmed life. I mean, of course, Y. Latynina, who, after United Russia’s success at he polls, waxes elequent in today’s (7 December 2011) Moscow Times about the unfair election, corruption and Evil Incarnate itself, V.V.Putin.

    She writes:

    “…you can convince people that the West is out to destroy Russia and that the dollar will soon collapse. But you cannot convince people that Russia is building new roads, hospitals or schools, that the authorities are reducing corruption or that people’s democratic rights are being protected.

    It is easy for the Kremlin to dupe the general population concerning abstract things. But when it comes to concrete matters, it is also useless trying to convince people that their lives have improved.

    I am certain that 99 per cent of those who voted against United Russia have never heard of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny. They were also unaware of the suspicious incident last year when a top executive at LUKoil. His Mercedses, which was fit with a blue flashing light, crashed into an oncoming car on Leninsky Prospekt, resulting in the death of two passengers in the other car, while he walked awaywith only minor injuries. Nor were they aware that Putin reportedly had a 1$ billion palce built for himself at Gelendzhik. But nearly everyone has had their own experience where a friend or relative was hit by a government official in a speeding car and the guilty party was never brought to justice. or when some corrupt businessman or government official stole the rights to their plot of land and the courts turn a blind eye”.

    1.”…you cannot convince people that Russia is building new roads, hospitals or schools…”

    My two eldest children attend one of the three newly built schools in the immediate vicinity of my part of Moscow (Taganka).

    My youngest child was born 3 years ago in a hospital (№29) that had been constructed the year previous to her birth.

    2. “… it is also useless trying to convince people that their lives have improved”.

    So Russians citizens feel that they are no better off now than they were in 2000? Is that what they tell you, Yulia?


    3. “…99 per cent of those who voted against United Russia have never heard of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny. They were also unaware of the suspicious incident last year when a top executive at LUKoil”.

    Pure conjecture.

    4. “Nor were they aware that Putin reportedly had a 1$ billion palce built for himself at Gelendzhik”.

    At least she writes “reportedly”!

    5. “But nearly everyone has had their own experience where a friend or relative was hit by a government official in a speeding car and the guilty party was never brought to justice. or when some corrupt businessman or government official stole the rights to their plot of land and the courts turn a blind eye”.

    That’s right! It happens all the time to nearly everyone where I live. The old women gossiping at the house entrance talk of nothing else but of who is the latest to have been run down in the street by one of the Siloviki or who has had his dacha territory seized by some obscenely corrupt party official.

    They award Latynina prizes in the USA for writing such sh*te.

  16. Stalingrad Exile says:

    Thank you Moscow Exile . It is easy to understand why the siloviki and their servants hate Yulia Latynina . http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/this-could-be-putins-last-election/449385.html

    • Nothing to say, eh.

      • Stalingrad Exile says:

        In the video interview with the Latvian portal rus.tvnet.lv after the show with “elections in Duma” Russian opposition leaders Novodvorskaya and Borovoy give interesting insight


        Borovoy said:

        “Such a system is the usurpation of power, is a crime, yes, it is authoritarianism. We hope that this dangerous phenomenon will not exist for a long time because for its existence disappear economic framework and incentives.

        Even a very high price of oil will not allow Russia to survive, because the economy itself is ineffective and “business strangled”.

        We are not talking about civil liberties in Russia. There are no two leaders in Russia. The government is under a “corporation” of the former KGB officers, headed by Putin. Well, Medvedev is a “hired boy” who performs the role of the secretary of Putin.

        Novodvorskaya said:

        “Today we have not even has an authoritarianism but a feudalism, which is confirmed by the elections. In power are United Russia and the tandem Putin-Medvedev, it is not a political stability, it is an eternal political dream. Those who voted for the United Russia, Zhirinovsky’s LDPR and Zyuganov’s communists – it is not the people, but a mob !( that hates Yulia Latynina and people like her )

        • Under western control it was under the KGB, Oligarchs, international mafia working with Chechen and international terrorist against the state the literally destroy it so they can capture the Caspian and Eursian oil and gas under there control.

          One has to wonder when the country was being dismantled and the country was in a worst state than that during the American depression akin to Weimar Germany there was no mass protest, western media concern or foreign funding of political parties installed through a rigged 96 re-election of Yeltsin by the US and OSCE.




          Perhaps it is because there people were involved and where advancing their agenda.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Those that vote for UR, the LDPR and the Communist Party are not the people but the mob? Such an opinion, in fact, was not long ago publicly declared by Latynina in the Moscow Times.

          In response to the Ukrainians returning the anti-Yushchenko candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, in their presidential election of February 2010, Latynina wrote in an MT article entitled “Letting Poor People Vote is Dangerous”:

          “Viktor Yanukovych’s victory in Sunday’s presidential election — not unlike the victories of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Adolf Hitler — once again raises doubt about the basic premise of democracy: that the people are capable of choosing their own leader.

          Unfortunately, only wealthy people are truly capable of electing their leaders in a responsible manner. Poor people elect politicians like Yanukovych or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

          Poor people are capable of feats of bravery and revolution. They can storm the Bastille, overthrow the tsar or stage an Orange Revolution. But impoverished people are incapable of making sober decisions and voting responsibly in a popular election”.

          Latynina, a “liberal”, apparently believes that democracy is only good if it gives the result that she and others of her ilk desire; if, on the other hand, the mob votes for the “wrong” candidate, namely the one not promoted by the “international community” of “free nations”, aka the USA and its satraps, then those that have made such a decision deserve only, in her opinion, to be sorned as people of low intellect that are incapable of making the “right” decisions.

          If a journalist in the USA had stated that the low level of educational attainment of many American citizens together with the impoverishment that many of them suffer from, should bar them from being able to vote, there would have been public outrage in “The Land of the Free”. Yet as a result of typical doublethink on the part of Latynina’s US supporters, she has been accoladed in the United States as a “democrat”, even though she has publically criticised the wisdom of allowing those that may not vote for the “correct” candidate being granted the right to vote.

          Her opinion concerning the mob’s inability of making its own political choice notwithstanding, in 2008 Latynina was a recipient of the Freedom Defenders Award, granted to her by the US Department of State.

          I should think that it is not so much the mob that hates Latynina but Latynina that absolutely detests the mob.

          • Is Latynina actually wealthy herself? If so, where does her $$$ come from? Just curious….

        • Novodvorskaya, charming and electable as always.

  17. Not everybody buys the propaganda. Check out this piece on the Lew Rockwell site


    Instead of shedding crocodile tears about election fraud and a defeat for Putin, the folks at LRC are taking a closer look at the “Golos” “fraudbusters” and their ties to the US CIA sponsored organizations. They even offer an interesting hypothesis:

    “Could US criticisms of Russia on the eve of elections somehow be related to Russia’s surprisingly firm stance in favor of its ally Syria as NATO and its corrupt puppets in the Arab League prepare a Libya-style “liberation”?

  18. I don’t understand how the western media can be complaining about massive vote fraud and violations when the international observers where praising how well the election process took place with irregularities amounting to about 1% of the actually vote.

    Foreign experts laud Russia elections


    Central Elections Commission did a great job, ACEEEO monitor says


    Foreign observers consider Russian elections legitimate


    The “evidence” of election fraud of amateur videos of ballot stuffing seems to come from a colour revolution linked Soros organisation “Golos” which has been circling around allegations of vote fraud via social networks and western funded and supported opposition figures like anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny who is a project of Soros linked western project.

    LaRouche exposed this guys background.

    Playing with Fire: Destabilizing Russia

    December 7, 2011 8:59AM

    The two days after Russia’s parliamentary elections of December 4 have seen the Project Democracy networks of George Soros, Mikhail Gorbachov, and other London-linked enthusiasts of “regime change” take aim at Russia, and at the prospective return of Vladimir Putin to its Presidency, in particular. Western officials piling on in the attacks against Russia’s Putin-Medvedev tandem include British Foreign Minister William Hague, who proclaimed his “serious concerns” after an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) report charged the United Russia party with ballot box-stuffing; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who toed the “serious concerns” line on behalf of the Obama Administration, adding that “Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all credible reports of electoral fraud and manipulation, and we hope in particular that the Russian authorities will take action”; and Sen. John McCain, who issued a Twitter message addressed to Putin: “Dear Vlad, The Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you.”

    Ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachov went on the liberal radio station Echo of Moscow to call for “changes in the Russian political system.”

    In the elections to the State Duma, the United Russia slate headed by current President Dmitri Medvedev was credited with just under 50% of the vote, retaining a simple majority of 238 seats in the 450-member parliament a loss of 70-some seats. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, with almost 20%, doubled its representation to 92 seats. The party led by former Federation Council head Sergei Mironov, A Just Russia, got 13% (64 seats) and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russia received 11% (56 seats).

    The people being described in the Western media as “the opposition” are not from those parties. The extra-parliamentary Solidarity movement took to the streets on Monday to charge United Russia with vote fraud. Several thousand people showed up for a demo, for which they had a permit for 500 people. The crowd was whipped up by Alexei Navalny, a lawyer who has become famous as an online crusader against corruption, who shouted, “Putin is a thief,” and led chants of “Russia without Putin,” and “We shall not forgive!” At a certain point, according to Russian press accounts and amateur video clips posted online, Ilya Yashin of Solidarity called on the crowd to march on the headquarters of the Central Electoral Commission, at which point they moved into areas for which they did not have a permit, and were stopped by OMON special police forces. Some 200 to 300 people were arrested, including Yashin and Navalny.

    Navalny has become an Internet celebrity over the past year, since launching exposes of the siphoning of millions of dollars and rubles out of major government-funded projects such as the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline. He has also been heavily cultivated in the West: in 2010 he was a fellow in the Yale World Fellows Program, a project created by Yale University President Richard C. Levin with input from former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo (who has his own long history of collaboration with Soros in the “Drugs and Democracy” pro-dope legalization project), to “create a global network of emerging leaders.” The participants are trained by the likes of UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown (famous for creating the Saakashvili project, with Soros, in Georgia), Aryeh Neier, who heads Soros’s Open Society Institute, and Tom Scholar, the UK Executive Director at the World Bank and IMF.

    Upon Navalny’s return to Russia, he was featured in a highly unrepresentative mock Moscow mayoral election, run online by the financial daily Kommersant. Navalny “won”, with 45% of the 67,000 votes cast. Another paper, Vedomosti (co-owned by the Financial Times of London), named Navalny “Person of the Year” in 2009. He was the subject of an April 2011 puff piece in The New Yorker on “one man’s cyber-crusade against Russian corruption.” He famously dubbed United Russia “the Party of Crooks and Thieves.” In 2005, he and Maria Gaidar, daughter of the architect of the disastrous neoliberal 1990s economic policies, formed a group with the neurolinguistic programming-style name of “Da!” (“Yes!”), but he has also linked up with the anti-immigrant Russian March movement.

    Today the liberal and Gorbachov-linked media were in ecstasy over the arrest and 15-day detention of Yashin and Navalny. Alexei Venediktov, the owner and editor of Echo of Moscow radio, proclaimed that the arrest of Navalny would prove to be Putin’s fatal mistake. Liberal journalist Yulia Latynina wrote in the Moscow Times that Dec. 4 will have been Putin’s last election; that he will not be elected President in March. Liberal politician Boris Nemtsov attempted to visit Navalny and Yashin in prison. Amnesty International declared them “prisoners of conscience,” while Nicola Duckworth, AI’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, declared that “these shameful arrests once again demonstrate the inability of the Russian government to respect the rights of its citizens to freedom of expression and assembly.”

    Medvedev held a nationally televised meeting with Vladimir Churov, head of the Central Electoral Commission, who reported to him that some international observers had complained that not enough parties were on the ballot in the election. Medvedev replied brusquely that Russia’s political system is its own affair, and “not their business.” Medvedev said he had watched video clips of the Monday demonstrations, which he said consisted mostly of “incomprehensible” shouting.

    Putin, meanwhile, met Tuesday with United Russia activists who represent him, as UR leader, in communications with the population in the regions. He said that UR had achieved a “stable majority.” “Yes, there were losses, as is inevitable for any political force, especially one that has assumed the burden of responsibility for the situation in the country for more than just one year. “You and I can see, and we know what is happening in countries whose economic and social situations seemed more stable: millions of people are in the streets.” “Yet,” he continued, “Russia has raised wages and pensions.” He pledged a renewed and upgraded fight against corruption.


    • alexander mercouris says:

      Dear JohnUK,

      Thank you for this.

      I may as well express my own opinion, which is that Navalny is another western sponsored project replacing the two previous failed projects, Kasparov and Nemtsov. In this new variant of the “democratic opposition” Navalny poses as the democratic, nationalist anti corruption campaigner. This was of course the tactic used with extraordinary success by Boris Yeltsin in the mid 1980s.

      Russia today is a very different place from what it was in the 1980s and the recent election shows the folly of this tactic. Russians do worry about corruption but in the light of their recent history it is not an issue that inclines them to vote liberal. Instead by raising the profile of this issue Navalny simply persuades more Russians to vote Communist.

    • Ludmila Belousova says:
  19. It seems UR can do no right according to Western media: if they can’t get more than 50% of the vote, they’re damned to political oblivion from voters who have “discovered” democracy and Putin faces rivalry at the Presidential elections in March, 2012; if they do get more than 50% of the vote then they’re accused of rigging the votes, pressuring voters at polling booths to vote a certain way and threatening those who don’t. Which observers from Sweden and other countries did not notice.

    US political commentator blogger Stephen Lendman wrote a very astute article “Russia Bashing” on the Russian Duma elections and the hysterical US mainstream media response to it. Some of us here may have seen it already but for anyone who hasn’t, here is a link: http://bravenewworld.in/russia-bashing/.

    Nearly 50% of the vote with the nearest opposition party getting just under 20% of the vote – I should think that’s cause for celebration. And Medvedev at least is open to negotiating with coalition partners on certain issues.

    I’m no psychologist or sociologist but I think this reaction to the Duma elections is a classic example of projecting one’s fears and insecurities about one’s own society onto another that actually practises what we all wish our own societies should be doing.

  20. alexander mercouris says:

    Dear Jennifer,

    Your points are surely right.

    Incidentally I ought to say that I am as cynical about most of the “evidence” of vote fraud as I am about Navalny. It seems that the people involved were so incompetent that they let themselves be filmed doing it. This whole business has the distinct look of an organised campaign to use the internet to spread such stories, which I suspect begun with the episode of the film of Putin at the sporting event.

  21. Ludmila Belousova says:
    • Ludmila,

      All right so what is the association that Stephen Lendman has with Webster Tarpley and Lyndon LaRouche? Simply because Tarpley includes, say, an interview Lendman conducts with Gerard Celente on his website or Larouche’s Dprogram website carries several direct links to Lendman articles, does that necessarily mean that they are all in cahoots with one another? Lendman and Celente cannot help that what they say is grabbed by other people with the intent of moulding their (L and C) work into their (the others, that is) agendas and supporting their particular causes.

      At least here I can defend myself, Lendman and others against trolls like yourself who insinuate that we must be racist or anti-Semitic because I happen to quote Lendman and Lendman happens to end up in places he’d probably rather not be in cyberspace.

      By the way, Lendman is Jewish and I am Australian-born ethnic Chinese.

  22. Okay, this is what I have for the final numbers, does this jive with everybody’s info:

    UR = 238 seats
    KP = 92
    JR = 64
    LD = 56
    Total: 450 seats

    Nothing for Yabloko — ha ha!

    • Yes. Whatever the real level of falsifications, it’s inconceivable that they could have reached 7% or even the 5% needed to get a single deputy.

  23. AK I too feel that the western media response is overblown. I remember listening to a BBC report today in which they talked about the lack of coverage of the protests by Russia’s state TV channels and then proceeded to say that some people didn’t know about the protests since they weren’t on TV (and included an audio clip of an interview with a lady who was asked to give a comment on the protests and she responded that she didn’t know about any protests).

    What struck me was that the highest number I’ve ever heard for the protests is about 5,000. Since Moscow has a population of 10-11 million (on the order of the population of downtown (the official city area) of New York it’s little wonder than a few thousand protesters would not necessarily have been widely known about.

    One thing that disturbs me though are images like the ones found here (http://suurijamahtava.com/2011/12/05/), specifically this: http://suurijamahtava.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/jbka8d89jovg.jpg

    How is that some fairly populous places had a turnout of over 100%? How does the electoral system work in Russia?

    • Hunter, I’ve seen those pictures and I really don’t know where they were pulled from. The official figures give Rostov Oblast a turnout of 59.4% and a UR vote of 50.9%, both of which are very close to the national average.

      I suspect it was a technical screwup, which aren’t exactly uncommon.

      • I was wondering if it might have been as a result of the electoral system used. I know in some electoral systems there is ranked voting which would obviously add up to more than 100%.

        Does Russia used ranked voting?

        • No, it doesn’t.

          Unless evidence emerges to the contrary, I am writing this off as a glitch.

          • I would say it was a glitch too. After all it would seem to be even more evidence of incompetent rigging if this was rigged – all parties seemed to have gotten more votes than the polls would have indicated. So a bonanza for everybody! 🙂

            Unless people want to take it as proof that all the other figures are right and the one for UR is wrong in which case the figures for Rostov would have been:

            KPRF – 32.96
            LDPR – 23.74
            Fair/Just Russia – 19.41
            UR – 12.52
            Yabloko – 9.32
            Patriots – 1.46
            Right Cause – 0.59

            To me that would be a most scary result and the western MSM should really consider what they are implying when they say it was rigged because if so then in means Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov (hmm….the Zed force(s)?) are the ones who should really have won and I’m sure they would prefer Putin any day over that dynamic duo.

        • Thanks, @hunter. Using your “Rostov Adjustment Algorithm” for the Voronezh results I come up with the following:

          UR – 33.36
          KPRF – 31.11
          Fair/Just Russia – 17.22
          LDPR – 11.72
          Yabloko – 4.55
          Patriots – 1.38
          Right Cause – 0.66

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      I remember listening to a BBC report today in which they talked about the lack of coverage of the protests by Russia’s state TV channels and then proceeded to say that some people didn’t know about the protests since they weren’t on TV
      Hunter, I’m not Russian and don’t even able to read the language, but in less than 10 minutes I was able to check this claim. From Wikipedia I got the websites of 2 state-owned Russian TVs, Vesti and NTV, using Google translate I found that both channels reported about the protests. Vesti has it on his frontpage, while NTV has an entry on Navalny on the frontpage, clicking on the “Duma elections” tag brings a page about the protests. In short BBC is lying.

      • They may not be outright lying, but they are probably being “conservative with the truth” as they did talk specifically about the tv channels themselves and not their websites. So it is possible that the tv channels may not have broadcast anything on the protests, but if it is on their website then it isn’t as if they aren’t really covering it.

        • Giuseppe Flavio says:

          Open the vesti TV website and click on the image where a cop is bringing a guy toward a police bus. It opens a window where a flash video plays. To me this video looks from a TV news transmission. There are two presenters at the start, images from the protests, arrests being made and a couple of short interviews. Anyway, we can ask to those living in Russia, like Moscow exile, if the news about the protests were suppressed or not. I bet they weren’t suppressed and that BBC is outright lying.

          • Well it seems more and more like they were lying. It’s a shame when you just can’t trust the news. Mistakes? Fine. Outright lies? Not acceptable.

      • BBC tells LIES?? Oh, Giuseppe, how could you? You have just made my world of illusions come crashing down around me. You are a mean man like Gregers Werle in Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck”.

        • Giuseppe Flavio says:

          The “Russian/Italian/whatever media didn’t report about this or that” is one of the favourite lies of Anglo-Saxon media. It makes them feel good about themselves, besides furthering their agenda.

          • alexander mercouris says:

            The Financial Times has now written a long piece also saying that Russian TV did not cover the protests. It specifically includes RT amongst the Russian TV broadcasters that failed to cover the protests. It even repeats a somewhat cynical joke allegedly made by an RT executive explaining why RT did not cover the protests.

            I cannot speak of Russian domestic television but I am a very occasional RT viewer but I do check its website and that at least was covering the protests as its very first item. It was also showing film of the protests, which I presume was broadcast.

            Unless anyone knows otherwise it would seem that the Financial Times is is being as economical with the truth as the BBC.

            • Totally disgraceful.

              RT wasn’t as hard on the Kremlin as it would have been had it happened in the US (no shit), but it certainly covered all the facts.

            • Giuseppe Flavio says:

              And Fox News passed footage of Greek riots as Russian election protests. I know, most people will say “Hey, it’s Fox News” as if they’ve a license to lie.

              • A License to Lie. That could be a great movie!

              • Giuseppe Flavio says:

                In the Greek footage there are palms and light dressed demonstrators, so the people at Pravda wrote:
                Senator John McCain will have something to tweet about after this. The Fox News report will make him even more certain of the Arab spring coming somewhere near Mr. Putin.
                It is a tabloid, but they have a good sense of humor.

              • LOL, good one Giuseppe. So global warming is the best way to usher in an Arab Spring in Russia?! 🙂

              • Let us not forget the other Fox classic from 2008: Shep has to quickly go to commercial break when Amanda’s aunt starts blasting Saakashvili; the producers obviously didn’t expect that, even though they kind of knew that their guests were Osseetians. Once again, sloppy preparation and haziness about geography:

        • Several weeks ago (it might have been some time in October) there was a story about the BBC, CNN and Agence Presse having provided ground coordinate information of pro-Gaddafi forces to either the Libyan rebels or NATO who then passed the information to the rebels. Some senior US commander in NATO made that statement. I have looked for the story from time to time since then on Google but the story seems to have been pulled. Can’t find anything on the Mathaba news website or Libya SOS blog site either.

          Yeah I’m a mean mutha if Giuseppe is a mean man.

          • Jennifer: During Libya war there were many reports of fake “reporters” who were actually NATO assets (special ops, etc.) Here is one such report, there are a lot more, but you have to search harder for them now, as people are busy taking down these pieces to cover their tracks. However, even more sinister than this is the fact that completely “respectable” journalists from Reuters, CNN, etc. cooperated extensively with NATO and provided intelligence on the ground, blurring the line between journalism and special ops. Not to mention the constant barrage of pro-rebel propaganda and never telling the other side of the story. Al Jazeera trumped them all by manufacturing fake news (demonstrations, even a fake Tripoli invasion two days before the real deal) in their studio in Dohar, Qatar. I have many links for that, if you need some.

  24. alexander mercouris says:

    More figures from the Guardian in a new editorial. This time it claims that the true figure for UR in Moscow was 23.5% not the 46.5%. The Guardian gives no authority for this but states it as fact.

    AK Edit: The editorial in question.

    • If the exit poll from FOM was correct, then they do have an authority (in this case). Another exit poll, ISI, gave them 27.6%. I don’t have the regional breakdown for WCIOM. Regardless, it seems that something really is rotten in Moscow. These gaps are too big to be explained by error margins.

      • alexander mercouris says:

        If the figure of 23.5% comes from an exit poll then the Guardian should say so. When you read the editorial you will see the Guardian does not say that this figure comes from an exit poll. It is instead saying that it is the true, actual voting figure.

        Incidentally this is one case Anatoly when I find myself taking a less sinister view of the matter than you. Exit polls can be wrong, sometimes badly so. In a huge, complicated city like Moscow organising exit polls must be a daunting challenge and I suspect that on this occasion the organisation simply broke down. I have heard somewhere (I do not know whether this is true) that the proportion of voters who refused to respond to the exit poll in Moscow was unsually high. If so this probably has played a role.

        • The details are here. 37% of Muscovites refused to answer, which is a lot but not massively more than in other federal regions.

          (It also gives 27.5% to UR, but that’s because that version of exit polls was only released midway through their sample. 23.6% was the figure when everything was accounted for. It’s also suspicious that FOM, a state-owned polling company, removed the regional figures from their website soon after people began noticing the absurd Moscow discrepancies, though not before people took screenshots and saved files).

          • alexander mercouris says:

            Dear Anatoly,

            Thanks for this. Now that I’ve seen it I’m sure it’s a sampling error. I remember that something very similar happened with an exit poll in Britain in I think the election of 1992.

            • Could you give me a link please? I’m currently writing a (formal-ish) article about the elections, and one of the inescapable conclusions I have ATM is that Moscow’s were substantially rigged.

              • alexander mercouris says:

                Gosh! I was writing from memory and I am awful with links but try “BBC exit poll 1992” on YouTube

              • Read the Wikipedia article, in which the discrepancy was 8.5% and attributed to a “Shy Tory” factor.

                But that said, 8.5% is not a 20%+ difference. If we were to assume a “Shy Едросс” factor, we would have to conclude that fully 2/3 of the 37% unanswered voted UR. Is that realistic? I really doubt it.

              • alexander mercouris says:

                I suspect more a sampling error than a “shy Tory factor”. My point simply was that they are not infallible. This one is so far out of line with results everywhere else that I think there has probably been a mistake.

                I would just say one thing, which is that if the results in Moscow were faked then it was done incredibly fast and unbelievably efficiently given the speed in announcing the results.

                Anyway, I shall be interested as always to read your next post but it is 3:30 am here and I am afraid I must be off to bed.

              • Giuseppe Flavio says:

                the 8.5% discrepancy is a national average. It is safe to assume that on a local level it could be higher somewhere and lower somewhere else.

          • AK

            Looking at the details I notice something about Moscow:

            1. They give Moscow separately from the federal districts, so I would assume that the exit polls for the central federal district is really “central federal district except Moscow”

            2. The results were from 53% of the vote counted/persons exiting sampled and where 37% of the respondents declined to give an answer. Based on that it means out of the theoretical 100% the actual figures were (assuming the 37% is 37% of the 53% sample):

            Fair Russia – (0.53-(0.37*0.53))*16.3 = 5.44
            LDPR – 3.67
            Patriots – 0.5
            KPRF – 8.51
            Yabloko – 5.24
            UR – 9.18
            Right Cause – 0.2
            Invalid – (not sure how to calculate this, whether as part of the 53% sample or as part of the 33.39% that gave an answer)
            Declined to respond -0.37*0.53 = 0.1961 = 19.61%

            Total (not including invalids) = 52.36%

            Yet to be sampled = 47%

            Persons from whom there was no answer (either yet to be sampled or declined to answer) = 19.61+47 = 66.61%

            So for the Moscow figures the percentages only relate to about 33.4% of the total respondents. With 19.61% of the total respondents not giving an answer and 47% not having even been polled yet. For UR to have gotten about 48% in Moscow would require about 58% OF the 66.61% (19.61 + 47) of persons from whom the exit pollsters did not get an answer at the time. For UR to have gotten 45% would have required 53% of the same 66.61%.

            • alexander mercouris says:

              Sorry to bang on the subject of exit polls.

              I saw from Anatoly’s Facebook page that a different exit poll agency also got very different results from the eventual poll results in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. Significantly the actual St. Petersburg results were significantly worse for UR than the exit poll whilst the Fair Russia results were much better.

              I do not think the results in St. Petersburg were fixed in Fair Russia’s benefit anymore than the results in Moscow were fixed to UR’s benefit. Given that Fair Russia does not run St. Petersburg how could it do this? To my mind what this does is provide further evidence that the problems are with the exit polls and the sampling as opposed to the count. I do not know how long exit polls have existed in Russia but presumably it cannot have been very long. It seems that they have mastered their work in the towns and villages of Russia where the great majority of people live but the complexities of the two great metropolitan centres of Moscow and St. Petersburg defeated them.

              There, I’ve said my piece. I now take a vow of silence on the subject.

      • We can all recall how the 2004 election in Ukraine was screwed up by western embassy sponsored exit polls that were outright lies. This time around something smells but not from the polling booth. Nobody asks the question why the exit polls don’t agree with opinion polls in the run up to the election. This is where the 20% difference is. Instead they proceed to assume/claim that this is actual election results, as in Ukraine in 2004.

        So the theory is that in places like St. Petersburg the vote was not stolen but in Moscow it was. Russia is not Afghanistan and Putin is not the ruler of Moscow like Karzai is the ruler of Kabul. If Putin can fake the elections in Moscow he can fake them anywhere else in Russia.

        These exit polls are not credible.

    • Guardian article is full of distortions. Sheesh, where to begin? So many distortions, so little time…
      For starters, Putin’s Judas quip was made several days BEFORE the Duma election, as shown in this NY Times article from December 2:
      Pressure on Golos, an 11-year-old group whose name means “vote” in Russian, began mounting last Sunday, when Mr. Putin attacked “so-called grant recipients” that he said were interfering with elections on behalf of foreign governments. “Judas,” he said, “is not the most respected biblical figure among our people.
      Guardian manipulates the timeline to make it sound like Putin made this remark in respose to Duma election:
      Something went very wrong for Vladimir Putin last Sunday […] Thus far, Putin has responded with a series of panic measures. Calling Golos, Russia’s only independent monitoring organisation, Judas and the agent of foreign governments is playing the nationalist card…

      • alexander mercouris says:

        Notice also how the Guardian together with the rest of the western media downplays the vote for the Communists. The Guardian tries to explain it away by referring to a supposed opposition campaign of “anyone but United Russia”. I have seen this same claim made repeatedly in British media commentary including in an article in the Financial Times today by Konstrantin von Eggert of Kommersant Radio and Novosti, which curiously did not mention the Communists once. This is obviously said to minimise the Communist and left wing vote in this election and to explain away the small size of the liberal vote.

        It makes no logical sense to me. Russia operates a system of pure proportional representation unlike the first past the post system we have in Britain, so I cannot see the logic of the sort of tactical voting the Guardian, von Eggert and the rest are talking about. Given the nature of the electoral system why would a liberal inclined voter in say Saratov (where liberals might for all I know be thin on the ground) choose to vote against his own inclinations for the Communists instead of Right Cause or Yabloko?

        • @alexander; I think you are exactly right here. Western MSM is burying the lead here, namely how surprisingly strong the Communist showing is. Yeah, the idea that liberals would vote for Communists on a tactical basis is bullsh*t., since they had their own guys (Yabloko) on the ballot. People only vote tactically when there is no third party option. Strong showing of Commies surprised even a Leftie like me. Based on this new reality, KPRF should not settle for anything less than Speaker in the new Duma. Putin will have to make a deal with Ziuganov.

          • alexander mercouris says:

            Dear Yalensis,

            I have just checked out the lead article in the Economist about the Russian elections. It doesn’t so much as mention the Communists once! Some truths are apparently too horrible to contemplate.

  25. Bottom-line: Putin greatly displeases the globalist elite because without Russia, there can be no New World Order. So Putin is constantly attacked by Western media because of this. When Rothschild pigdog agents tried to take over Russia (for the NWO) in the 1990’s, Putin gave them a smack to the snout and threw them in a cage (where pigdogs belong).

    So here’s my message to the globalist pigdog schmaltzfuckers reading this:

    You will never have your New World Order. The universe (Or God) doesn’t like you. Of course, you will try your big 3rd World War (as foretold by Albert Pike) but this will fail (although many people will be killed). You’ll even bring out your exotic technologies when things start really going bad for you but it won’t matter. All the time you’ve dedicated to achieving “Godhood” will be for nothing. Those of you not thrown into a pit of fire will be placed in cages and put on display. It’s going to end up very bad for you regardless of how many people you traumatize and kill in this next war. I repeat, it’s going to end up very bad for you. (end of message).

    Putin will be remembered as one of greatest forces for human freedom in the history of the world. In fact, after the globalist pig-dog apparatus finally falls, globalists will have the choice to leave their cages for 10 hours a day and do agricultural work under a huge statue of Putin that overlooks them.

    • I guess that counts as one confirmed vote for United Russia.

      • Not necessarily. The good thing about Russia is that leaders are not puppets of some party apparatus and the vested interests behind it. This is why Putin is reviled and Russia is called a dictatorship. Political “scientists” in the west claim Russia does not have a functioning democracy because parties don’t control the political scene. Somehow back room scheming in parties is freer and better than simple balloting for a leader.

      • I’m an American. In fact, my background should make me a Russia hater. One side of my family was forced to migrate from Latvia in 1944 as the red army closed in. My grandfather was shipped east during the initial soviet occupation.

        With that said, I have absolutely no hard feelings towards Russia as I realize the Bolshevik revolution and soviet union were a globalist schmaltzfucker project (funded and staffed by outsiders mostly from that mettlesome little tribe of international manipulators).

        I see modern Russia as a bulwark against the New World Order. I consider the Russian election to be more important than the American one. At this point it doesn’t matter who the American President is. Putin’s Russia is the biggest obstacle in the globalist pigdog NWO.

  26. I learned from my relatives in Saratov that they were being agitated, at the doorstep, not to vote for UR before the election. Who were these people and who paid them? It is illegal to engage in this sort of campaigning in Canada and elsewhere. You can only promote your party and have to make clear that you are supporting a party.

    I think Putin is right when he claims that hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by foreign interests to manipulate these elections. It takes some coin to organize even the simple activity I mention above. They can also buy exit polls.

    • The exit polls don’t need to have been bought. I could still see the Moscow exit polls as correct as out of all the exit polls it had the smallest sample size (53%) and a large percentage who declined to respond (37%, presumably 37% of the 53% and not 37% out of 100% otherwise the sample size would be incredibly tiny). Doing a bit of rough math the sample size in the Moscow exit poll of those who responded out of the total that the pollsters aimed at was about 33%. A sample size that small can easily differ from a larger sample. I wouldn’t expect things like that to get in the way of publications like the Guardian however.

      • alexander mercouris says:

        Dear Hunter,

        Thank you for this. As I said before I am sure there has been a simple sampling error and yours seems to me to be the most likely explanation.

        I would just make one half serious, half facetious point. This is that one does not normally prefer an exit poll to an actual poll result. The only reason for doing so is if one already suspects the actual poll result is fraudulent. No one in Britain suggested that the 1992 exit poll was more accurate than the official count but then in Britain the opposition does not routinely dispute the outcome of elections and would not have the support of foreign media and foreign governments were it to do so.

        • alexander mercouris says:

          Just one absolutely last comment from me on the subject of the exit poll, which is that in an election where a party is being called “the party of thieves and scoundrels” it is not perhaps entirely surprising that many of those who voted for it might not be willing to admit in public after coming out of a polling station that they had done so. This might be a particularly serious issue in Moscow, which is the centre of the country’s politics, and might in part explain the high level of voters who refused to respond.

          • That could be part of the explanation. Even Nikita Belykh, former leader of SPS (a right-wing liberal party) who is now a governor, was aghast at the level of hatred expressed towards a TV persona Tina Kandelaki who has publicly stated her vote was for UR.

            I would say that Internet in Moscow has turned so anti-UR recently, that people are afraid of stating their true preferences there.

    • That will be chump change compared to what will be spent on the Presidential Elections, when the weather is more amenable to public street protests. This is the last year when the Kremlin can be relied upon to carefully measure its response and consider its actions based on how they will play in the western press, because once the WTO deal is signed they will not have to factor in that the west might snatch it away. That likely has much to do with the level of freaking out by the west as well, since there are powerful western interests that do not want Russia admitted.

    • Thanks, fairleft.

      Keep an eye out here. I will soon have a bigger and much more detailed article about the Russian elections, either here or linked to from here.

  27. From http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/6112461/Russian-elections-Protests-against-Putin-fizzle via http://my.firedoglake.com/fairleft/2011/12/08/why-we-know-russian-election-was-fair-more-or-less/#recommend-78594-17097

    “The Communist Party will have 92 seats, the left-leaning Just Russia will have 64 and the nationalist LDPR 56. Kremlin critics say all three parties are part of a system managed by the Kremlin and present no real threat to Putin’s rule.”

    This lead me to another realization. The western MSM has no clue how to protray Russian politics. They claim the communists, LDPR and Just Russia are all Kremlin puppets/stooges (in which case Putin’s REAL party controls 100% of the Duma) but at the same time an increase in votes for these “puppets/stooges/parties part of a managed system” is a slap in the face to Putin and represents a major loss of support.

    This doesn’t make any sense. Either they really are independent parties (which I believe them to be, however even though independent they are willing to vote through measures they agree with and not let partisan bickering stop the progress of legislation they all agree on (unlike in some western countries where politics has just become a show and where the party stance is more important than passing something meaningful)) OR they are UR puppet parties. They can’t be both.

    • “This leads me to another realization. The western MSM has no clue how to protray Russian politics. They claim the communists, LDPR and Just Russia are all Kremlin puppets/stooges (in which case Putin’s REAL party controls 100% of the Duma) but at the same time an increase in votes for these “puppets/stooges/parties part of a managed system” is a slap in the face to Putin and represents a major loss of support.”

      Ha, ha!! That’s brilliant, I don’t know how I missed that priceless bit of fail. You’re absolutely right; the west is pushing hard on this one, but they’re going for quantity rather than quality.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    Nearly all day today I’ve beeen working with young lawyers employed at TNK-BP, Moscow, and they all voted for UR. They are all 30-somethings and, by my standards at least, are very comfortably well off. The general consensus amongst them was that UR was the best choice amongst a bad bunch and that the election of any other party to form a government or a coalition government would have been a disaster for Russia. They also hold the protesters at Triumfalnaya to be mostly rent-a-mob, hired by agents of foreign powers.

    I should like to stress that these people of whom I write are members of the young Russian bourgeoisie who travel around Europe and elsewhere and are well acquainted with the delights that the West has to offer them. None of them has any plans to leave Russia in the foreseeable future. Perhaps they are an exception to the general rule peddled around in the Western media concerning such a class of Russian citizen. I think not.

    My wife, by the way, voted for Yabloka.

    • alexander mercouris says:

      Dear MoscowExile,

      I think the idea beloved in some sections of the liberal media both in Russia and abroad that as people become more middle class they become more liberal is based on a crude misreading of social politics. Historical experience is that all other things being equal the wealthier people become the more they have invested in the system that made them wealthy and that tends to make them more conservative and protective of the system not less. To the extent that in Russia UR embodies conservatism it is not surprising that people in the country who are making money incline to support it.

  29. Hey, Anatoly! I was invited to speak on Al Jazeera on the subject of the Russian elections, next Tuesday. The trackback is legit. For obvious reasons, I can’t do it. Would you like to take it? I’d be happy to recommend you, as I believe you would be the most likely to represent a similar viewpoint to my own. See last set of comments on my “About” page for contact details, if you are interested.

    • Interview with Al Jazeera? The blessed Emir’s pet jihadist newspaper? Fantastic! I am begging you to do it. Arabs need to hear the truth too. Here is some necessary pre-interview research to help you out. Good luck!

    • Hi Mark, sorry to hear that.

      I’ve already been recommended, so that won’t be necessary – but thanks for the offer. Unfortunately, I do not know if I can do it – I absolutely can’t do it on Tuesday before 2pm (CA time). I still have to find out when that show will be on.

      If I can’t make it, I hope they find someone else worthy of batting for the team! 😉

      • Anatoly: I am BEGGING you to do the interview with Al Jazeera. I even prepared some sample questions and answers for you to practice:
        AJ: What do you think of the pro-democracy protests in Russia?
        AK: I don’t know, what do you think of the pro-democracy protests in Qatar?
        AJ: How egregiously were the Duma elections rigged in favor of Putin’s party?
        AK: Probably to the same extent your last Qatari elections were rigged… oh, that’s right, you guys don’t have elections, you have a f*cking Emir!
        AJ: When will the “Arab Spring” arrive in Moscow?
        AK: It already did. Didn’t you see that piece on Fox News? Palm trees in downtown Moscow. I knew global warming was imminent, but sheesh even I didn’t expect it this soon…

        (etc, etc)

  30. Giuseppe Flavio says:

    Really would like some response to my request for explanation of discrepancy between Fair Russia’s 13% exit poll (ISI) and 25% real result in St.-Petersburg (vs. UR’s 49% to 35% drop). Surely UR can’t be the beneficiary of *every* falsified vote?
    One possible explanation is that the pollster used a sample that represents the Russian electorate on a national scale, but not at the local level. For example doing the exit polls in the rich part of one city and in the poor part of another city. On average it works, but at the local level it’s screwed.

  31. Wow, look at this sloppy news report from FAUX news:

    followed by RussiaToday’s analysis of the state of journalism in US mainstream media.

  32. Who rigged elections in Saint- Petersburg: http://www.box.com/s/lx9jbgk1xujaks0nf2de
    Mainly it were school teachers.