My Article On The Russian Elections At Al Jazeera

The long-promised post is out, but not here but at Al Jazeera: Truth and falsifications in Russia. It has also been translated into Russian at (Правда и фальсификации в России).

In the spirit of democracy, I am adopting Alexander Kireev’s poll (kireev) to ask you guys what YOU think about how falsified these elections were. Please read the explanations of each option before voting, and to only judge these elections at the Russia level (as opposed to individual cities or districts). And don’t ballot stuff like La Russophobe! 😉

Results were made up. The percentages were all written in advance by the Kremlin, and they have nothing to do even with the sum of falsified votes. In this scenario, even a vote for United Russia would have no effect on the final outcome (because the actual voting process and the determination of percentages have no bearing on each other).

Very falsified in favor of United Russia (by 10%+). That is, by 15%, 25%, etc. But at least the official results were not made up from thin air, as above. They are the sum of both real votes and (many, many) falsified ones. Furthermore, the proportion of votes between non-UR parties was maintained, only being reduced by a large factor in relation to United Russia. Dmitry Kobak makes a statistical argument for a 15% falsification, although there are counter-arguments that his methods are questionable. This view is held by many of the liberal oppositionists, including those who protested at Bolotskaya last Saturday; among Anglophone Russia watchers, this includes Sean Guillory and my nemesis in this blog’s comments section, peter.

Significantly falsified in favor of United Russia (by 2%-10%). This option would indicate that United Russia got a few percentages more than its real result, i.e. 39%-47%. There are regions of Russia were falsifications happened on a big scale, but they are mostly confined to Moscow and the ethnic minority republics. If your choice is towards the higher end of the scale, i.e. falsified by more than 5%, then United Russia should not have gotten a majority in the next Duma. The strongest concrete evidence for this is the FOM exit poll, the most comprehensive in Russia. I support this viewpoint: my best guess is 5% more for United Russia, but almost certainly less than 10%. So does Alexander Kireev (he thinks it’s a bit less than 10%), and the blogger hist_kai (his statistical analysis puts it at 5-7%).

Insignificantly falsified in favor of United Russia (<2%). This means statistically insignificant falsifications – most regions enjoyed clean elections, with significant falsifications observed only in a few of them. Evidence in support of this version includes all pre-election polls and the VCIOM exit polls.

There were practically no falsifications. The Kremlin’s line.

The falsifications benefited all parties more or less equally. There is statistical, exit poll (in St-Petersburg), and anecdotal evidence that parties other than United Russia also slightly benefited from fraud – mostly, the Communists and Fair Russia (it is generally agreed that Yabloko got screwed by everyone). But did they benefit AS MUCH AS United Russia from fraud? That is another question.

Falsifications benefited other parties more than United Russia. Poor United Russia, not only are the elections rigged against it but it gets blamed for it!

Other. I think I’ve pretty much covered all possible opinions, but you never know so this is here for anybody who has a radically idiosyncratic interpretation.

PS. For any lingering skeptics, more evidence in addition to what I presented in the Al Jazeera article that Moscow’s elections were highly falsified: stations with electronic voting machines (which are hard to mess with) reported 30.0% for United Russia, in stark contrast to the 46.6% average for the city.


  1. alexander mercouris says:

    Dear Anatoly,

    As I said on your Facebook page, an altogether excellent piece. Sane and balanced.

    By the way if you are right about the results in Moscow (which I still can’t quite believe) then it presumably means that the Communists came first in Moscow. If so then the US and the western media are complaining because the Communists have been denied their victory. Perhaps someone should take Hillary Clinton and John McCain aside and have a quiet whisper in their ear.

    • They are hoping Russians will believe that 20% voted for Yabloko in Moscow and that the 1990s have been rehabilitated as the golden era that they were :/

    • On the other hand… I saw this very discouraging photo taken 10 March earlier this year. Photo shows representatives of all opposition parties meeting with Joseph Biden at the U.S. consulate. From right to left: Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Boris Nemtsov, and … NINA OSTANINA (Communist Party), standing at the left hand of Opposition’s Lord and Master Biden himself. Say it ain’t so, Nina!
      Well, a photo is just a photo… But the blogger who posted this expose (a Putin supporters) added the following quote:

      Граждане России, голосующие за коммунистов, посмотрите на того, за кого вы голосуете. Как прекрасно представительница КПРФ смотрится в компании Байдена и откровенных российских компрадоров. Я вас поздравляю, вы отдали голос за правильных людей.

      Как рассказала сама Останина, “господин Байден сказал мне: “Думал ли я, когда приезжал в 70-е годы в СССР, о том, что когда-нибудь буду поддерживать коммунистов и желать вам победы…”. Какие времена, такие и коммунисты. Истинные патриоты, мля.

      Citizens of Russia who vote for the Communists, check out who you are voting for. How (comfortable) the KPRF representative looks in the company of Biden and the blatant Russian compradors. Congratulations…. ()
      As Ostanina herself remarked: “Mr. Biden said to me, ‘I could not have imagined, when I used to come to the USSR in the 70’s, that some day I would be supporting Communists and wishing you victory [in the elections]….”

      The photo and quote is damning. No Left-wing oppositionists should be seen at the U.S. embassy with the likes of Nemtsov/Kasparov. It feeds into current American propaganda line of “Anybody but Putin.” Also, even though I kind of support KPRF in these elections, I have not forgotten that it was higher-ups in the Communist Party (Gorbachov and others) who ultimately betrayed USSR back in the day by cutting a deal with the Americans. They cannot not be trusted.

      • The KPRF will be sorry for siding with Yabloko. Biden and pals have no interest in KPRF winning. They want another species of comprador. So Prokhorov wants to be president and wants a 60 hour work week for the Russian “lodars”. This is a man Washington can support.

  2. … although there are counter-arguments…

    I’ve said it about “hist_kai” before, and the same applies to “svshift”: illiterate drivel by some idiot programmer hardly qualifies as a counter-argument. The only competent rebuttal so far comes from Sergey Zhuravlev, but this is not a right place to discuss it.

    • You demonstrated that you didn’t even read hist_kai properly, so who are you to call them idiots?

      • I’m not sure what you’re talking about, please do explain why if we “отрежем еще и результаты, где у ЕР > 75% голосов”, we will obtain “заведомо заниженную оценку.” Thank you in advance.

        • Hey, peter, care to comment on that?

          • Ну а теперь давайте посмотрим на настоящий график распределения числа участков по проценту голосов, без сглаживания и просчитанный с высокой детализацией.

            “Настоящий” doesn’t mean “просчитанный с высокой детализацией.” The guy took very narrow bins and got, as expected, spikes at low-denominator rationals. Amusing but irrelevant.

          • Nice piece. Shows that all the parties have the same harmonic spikes and so there is no evidence of “harmonic injection” (LOL). Makes sense since the party support is not purely white noise spatially.

  3. “it’s hard to credit United Russia with more than 30 per cent in Moscow at the very most. It was probably more like 25 per cent”

    So in your view the pre-election polls were faked? Exit polls are a rather feeble basis on which to infer that UR support was 25%. If Moscow was at 25% then where was the 53% of support coming from? It is clear that it was not from the regions and the vote reflected this quite clearly. Seems like you think the graphic you posted is conclusive. Sorry, but there is much more to be done before it can be taken as evidence of anything other than voter dynamics.

    It seems the whole basis is which shows Yabloko getting 18.7% and Pravoye Delo 0.9%. The number for Yabloko is simply not credible. Even based on the graph you posted. The 25% for the KPRF is also suspect.

    There should be an investigation. The people at FOM that posted this “data” should explain themselves. It should not be hushed up. It’s the basis of the whole 2004 Ukraine election style smear through which another colour revolution is being attempted. This should be done before the March elections where I expect similar stunts with exit polls. Exit polls are not replacements for actual surveys.

    • Just noticed your comments about the graph on the other thread. Very obvious but didn’t notice that weirdness. Will investigate.

      I still think that as regards the Moscow elections the evidence for very large-scale fraud outweighs the evidence against it. What do you make of the discrepancies between results at stations with machine voting and those without?

      I am certainly looking forwards to Levada et al’s post-election voting surveys.

      • Me too. I also have another suggestion for the graphic in the other thread. Is it possible to plot all the other parties minus UR combined. I expect the pack’s Gaussian peak to shift up and for its half width to become similar to UR. If you think about it, the Gaussian for any party gets narrower as it moves towards zero on the x-axis. Assuming that normal distributions (including multimodal ones) are characteristic. Skewed distributions could have long tails towards high values of x.

        If UR was cheating then it was unnecessary. I don’t believe that it was as brazen as claimed here:

      • I have toyed with plotting Gaussians as per the graph being brandished above. The area under the Gaussian represents the total vote for the party (# stations x % of votes). The width of the Gaussian requires some other constraint but reflects the heterogeneity of the support. It is also constrained to shrink as the peak of the Gaussian approaches x=0. For KPRF, SR, LDPR the half-widths are similar so they follow the expected drop in the maximum as x_peak increases. Since UR support is much higher than the cluster of opposition parties its maximum is much smaller (ignoring the second peak at the KPRF level).

        So I have demonstrated to myself that the inference being drawn from such graphs is simply wrong. You don’t get a narrow peak of similar height for a party with large support since that would imply the area under the curve is too small. If the UR peak was to be narrow it has to be much higher than the other peaks and would reflect an almost monochromatic uniformity of support at all ballot stations.

        So the question is how did the fraudsters coordinate the cheating to give themselves a realistic looking spread consistent with the pre-election poll results? The Echo Moscvy blog example indicates a grotesque cheating. This would favour producing a narrow and tall peak for UR. They couldn’t coordinate the fraud across ballot stations since they don’t know how the voting will turn out at each station (no, the FSB does not have info on the opinion of every voter, 1984 style). So they would have thrown in 418/188 style hacks (looks like they were trying to impose a 54% result for UR). But you need to have UR support lifted by a whole spectrum of increments at random stations ranging from zero to 80% and higher. I can see this being done after all the ballots are counted but not during the ballot counting.

      • You assume that machine voting stations have the same profile as hand voting stations. That would be untrue even if they would have been chosen at random but they were probably not. If you only expect 50 vote in a station that you’re not going to spend money on an electronic voting machine.


    This graphic is being invoked to prove fraud, but that is wishful thinking. What it shows is that voter preference spatial heterogeneity is high at the micro scale. This exposes a serious flaw in the Russian electoral system. Too much pandering to convenience in terms of polling stations. They should quickly move to Canadian and US style aggregated polling locations. People can stand in line in the rain and snow since there is a good reason for it.

    With such variation amongst polling stations it is not surprising that the Gaussian for UR is broad and the for the marginal parties it is narrow. This also perfectly explains the FOR exit poll results, it’s merely their choice of location (I bet they did not do a good job of randomizing the sample). In addition, having so many polling stations introduces more room for irregularities. It is easier to supervise and observe a smaller number of stations.

    • Here I completely agree with you, kirill.

      The spatial argument is indeed dumb, which is why I did not mention it my article. Cities are not homogeneous. Imagine what you could “prove” with that method in a US city where ethnic minority ghettos sit next to financial districts and middle-class neighborhoods.

      • Here I completely agree with you, kirill.

        That’s the third time on this page alone that you jump to agree with a clueless tool just because he says what you want to hear. It’s a bad case of confirmation bias, next stop is the true-believer syndrome.

        • No, my problem is that I can tell good methods from bad ones. As you cannot have failed to notice, I do agree that Moscow’s results were heavily falsified and UR’s real percentage there is 25% or 30% at most. My evidence is things like two exit polls and the differences between regions using machines and those not which average things out. Spatial differentiation is a shit argument because different districts, even those close to each other, can differ greatly in their socio-economic composition: one station might be near a university, another in an ethnic Russian working district, yet another in a Caucasian neighborhood. Oh look… this spatially differentiated pattern existed in the “free” 1990’s too! I am open to these subtleties and only accept quality evidence, no matter whose version of the story it supports. You on the other hand only know how to troll.

  5. It would be helpful if somebody knew exactly how vote-rigging (hypothetically) takes place in manual voting systems. I mean the exact mechanics of it. How is ballot stuffing done in the presence of registered voter lists, etc.? I could never figure that out. People talk about voter fraud, but they don’t explain how it is done. Inquiring minds want to know. Anybody have any knowledge of these dark arts?

    • alexander mercouris says:

      Dear Yalensis,

      This is a good point. In the old days in Greece before the 1967 coup we all knew that election results were heavily rigged in favour of the government. The way it was done there was by keeping dead people on the voting lists. During an electon these dead people could be relied upon to “vote” for the government party. Their ballots would be completed in advance of the vote and stuffed before the election inside the ballot box.

      I believe that something similar happened in Chicago. For example I remember that there used to be a joke that John Kennedy won the Presidential election of 1960 through Mayor Daley’s “creative use of the votes of dead Chicagoans” (by the way untrue – Kennedy would have won anyway even if he had lost Chicago).

      No one so far as I know is alleging this sort of manipulation of the voting lists in Russia. There is also the odd question of why if the government was intending to rig the election in Moscow it would act to publicise the fact by getting its own exit poll agency to produce an exit poll showing a different result. A posssible answer is that if there was rigging in Moscow this was done by local officials (possible leftovers of the Luzhkov era?) without the knowledge of the central government.

      Elsewhere I have read in the British press suggestions that the authorities panicked when they saw the exit poll and the early results and rushed to get a new result by either destroying opposition ballots or by fabricating ballots in favour of the government party on the day of the election itself.

      Destruction of millions of ballot papers scattered in hundreds of polling stations in a single day under the gaze of international monitors in the nation’s capital hardly seems to me realistic. If the claim that the vote was falsified during the day of the election is true then the only way I can think that it could have been done would have been by getting the officials at the polling stations to complete and add new ballot papers to those of the actual voters. I have seen one film of an elderly and well dressed official supposedly doing just that though the film shows him doing it in an incredibly leisurely way working quietly by himself at his desk with what looks like a complete lack of urgency. Great care would have been needed in carrying out this operation to ensure that the number of ballot papers did not exceed the number of voters on the voting list otherwise one might have an embarrassing situation of a turnout that was higher than the number of voters. I presume that when voters attend polling stations in Russia that their names are ticked off the local voting list al register so unless the officials were prepared to take a very big risk of their fraud being discovered it would also have been necessary when completnng the fake ballots to tick off names of voters on the voting list who had not actually voted. This points to at least part of the operation being done after the polling station has closed and whilst counting is underway (and observers are present).

      There are I suppose other ways of fixing a vote, eg by getting officials to double count votes for the government party and to ignore votes for the opposition parties, but these begin to look more slapdash and are obviously much easier to detect.

      Given the speed with which the final result was announced the whole operation would anyway have had to be carried out with quite remarkable efficiency and speed. I ought to say that experience points to excessive delay in announcing a result as a much better indicator that fraud is going on than speed in announcing a result. A possible example is the 1993 parliamentary election in Russia where preliminary results pointed to a shock win by Zhirinovsky’s party. As I remember the final resullts took weeks to declare and were significantly more favourable to the government party than the early results had suggested.

      It is also somewhat surprising that given the very large number of people who would have had to be involved in Moscow in carrying out the fraud (if it was done in anything like the ways I have been discussing) and the uproar that there has been since the election result that no one in Moscow has so far come forward to admit that he or she was involved in the fraud. Russia is not Iraq or North Korea where doing so might get an official imprisoned or killed or worse. On the contrary any official who did do that would be hailed as a hero and might be rewarded (by you know who) with lots of money.

      I am conscious when I say all this that I am not sure how voters vote in Russia and I may be making assumptions based on voting systems I know, which may have no bearing to voting there. If I have made any mistakes or there is some flaw in my thinking or if anyone can think of some other means to carry out the fraud then I look forward to hearing it.

      • You make some good points. In particular, the speed of the release of results. Each voting station reports its tally at frequent intervals during the night of the ballot. There is not much room for post-ballot manipulation of the numbers. Any scheme to inject fake numbers must occur in real time. This really makes it improbable that the broad primary Gaussian in the UR vote distribution is a concoction of fraud.

        In addition the Echo Moscvy fraud claim link I posted above is a case that can be investigated and overturned. So the opposition should be demanding recounts. Not new elections or some other coup attempt.

        • alexander mercouris says:

          Dear Kirill,

          As someone whose background is in law and history I am afraid that I cannot follow you in the maths but I fully agree with your other points. I did not know that polling stations regularly report tallies but this does make the kind of manipulation I was describing even more (in fact much more) difficult.

          I ought to say that it is precisely the fact (pace Yalensis) that I have not had an explanation of how the fraud in Moscow was supposedly carried together with the fact that the results in Moscow do not seem to me inherently implausible that makes me think there was no fraud on anything like the level suggested. I say this as someone who (unlike you) would love to believe that the Communists came first in Moscow. It’s just that I don’t believe it.

          I also entirely agree with you that what the opposition should be doing if they doubt the result in Moscow is demanding a recount of the vote in Moscow not the annulment of the whole election. To be frank the fact that they are demanding annulment of the whole election instead of a recount makes me think that at some level they know that the result is broadly correct and they are concerned that a recount will prove it.

          PS: I should say that recounts during elections are very common here in Britain in areas where elections are tightly contested. Given that as in most places in Russia voting in Britain is manual such recounts invariably produce results that differ from the first count. This is always put down to simple error. I have never heard of a difference that was statistically significant.

          • I confess that I may have misunderstood the tallying process. But I can’t see how they can report results with partial counts otherwise, as they do in Canada and did in Russian on the 4th of December. Waiting for each voting station to close would mean results are announced on Monday.

            Regarding the KPRF. I would actually like them to reform themselves and become a party with enough support to win elections. Right now they are too fringe because of the absurd rule of Zhyuganov who quashes any challenge to his leadership. They should take a cue from the west where party leaders usually retire if they fail to win elections. To become more popular the KPRF should change its platform towards the center. Maybe Just Russia and KPRF should merge to produce a center-left party. Their current national support of 33% would grow towards 50% or higher.

            • Way to lazy to look up the previous KPRF election result but i believe that their score is higher than last time, a win.

              • alexander mercouris says:

                They went up from roughly 11% in 2008 to roughly 19%.

              • Just Russia also doubled its vote across that country. If I were the KPRF and JR then I would be concerned about foreign paid agents trying to steal the whole electoral process. Their gains have been ignored and the insinuation in the western media is that Yabloko should have won the vote.

        • @alexander and @kirill: Re the discussion on recounting vs re-doing the vote, I saw this Reuters piece today. Kudrin is calling for a selective recount in certain districts and also possibly the dismissal of Churov. I think this is the fair and sensible approach, and I predict it is the one that the government will take. It will appease many of the protesters without unleashing the chaos that a complete re-vote would bring. Here is the relevant quote:

          Kudrin called for a recount “in certain polling districts and even regions” and said the Kremlin should consider dismissing the head of the Central Election Commission, Vladimir Churov — one of the protesters’ other demands.
          “If this is not done, the next elections will be conducted in a slipshod manner,” he said, adding that he was talking about all future elections including the presidential vote.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I was with my wife when she voted last Sunday. Before she voted, she signed next to her name on the electoral register (Taganka, Central Administrative District, Moscow). She then entered the booth with the party list that she had been given and cast her vote. She then placed her vote in a sealed ballot box.

        My wife tells me that back in Soviet times and long before we met, she used to work counting ballots and that she just cannot imagine how the votes could have been stuffed. She says that when voting ended, the blanks were destroyed in front of officials and candidates from different registered parties before the count began. When couning votes, she and her colleagues were constantly observed by officials. She well remembers having to do a recount because there were two votes cast in excess of the numbers registered as having voted. She eventually found the miscount at five o’clock in the morning.

        I have no right to vote in Russia, but I have witnessed the mechanics of the Russian voting system at polling station level many times and find it to be the same as in the UK.

        • alexander mercouris says:

          Dear MoscowExile,

          Thank you for this very helpful description.

          We come back then to the question: if fraud did happen how was it carried out?

          PS: I should make it clear that my skepticism about allegations of fraud concerns the allegations made about the elections in Moscow. I fullly believe that there was fraud in the voting in the northern Caucasus. I simply cannot credit the impossibly high turnout figures there. It is the turnout figures that I find even nore suspicious than the claim that over 90% of those that voted are supposed to have voted for UR. As for the results in Chechnya, these seem to me so extreme that I suspect they have been simply invented. I am also sure Anatoly is right about the voting in some of the other ethnic regions on the Volga and elsewhere.

        • And near completely falsified in North Ossetia.

          The biggest irony is that they didn’t even HAVE TO do it to ensure a big United Russia win. The “natural” Gaussian for UR (from the few free and fair stations) seems to be only a few percentage points short of the artificial peak. There’s idiots and then there’s bureaucrats. Ёбаный стыд…

          • This graphic highlights my claim about the Moscow vote. Where are the spikes to show that there was “ballot injection” in favour of UR. I need to see some examples of ballot fraud where UR support was raised from 25% to 27%.

            But I agree with your point that this whole election is riddled with “halatnost” of the worst sort.

          • I do not understand this graph, can somebody explain (in layman’s terms)?

            • The spike you see for UR are evidence of primitive vote rigging. The underlying Gaussian vote distribution is what the support should be and for the most part is what electoral stations recorded. But there were many instances of “monochromatic” adjustment of the vote tally to show 74% for UR. This shows up as the spike. If there was really 74% for UR then the Gaussian would be distributed around 74% and not so narrow as the spike. It is clear that the real support was about 68% which is the peak of the broad Gaussian out of which the spike sticks out.

              As AK noted, a totally pointless fraud. So in my opinion this is nothing more than outright diversion in favour of Russia’s enemies.

            • I forgot to add that the spikes in the distributions seen for SR and KPRF are the result of the same fraud. The KPRF was assigned about 20% and SR was assigned 4%. The LDPR looks like a spike at 2%. So we have a simplistic 74+20+4+2=100 fraud at many ballot stations. Support is just not this monochromatic even with small populations. The presence of the broad Gaussians proves this.

              • Thanks, kirill, I think I am starting to get it, but not quite. I understand that the X-axis is % of votes for a party, and that it is supposed to cluster around a certain number. But I am still not quite getting what the Y-axis represents, and why the overall graph is supposed to be bell-shaped. I appreciate your explanations!

              • @yalensis

                The y-axis is the number of balloting stations. So the area under the vote distributions is the total vote if you convert the x-axis from percentage to actual numbers. There is a little wrinkle in that there is an offset in the area integral: the farther out the distribution is on the x-axis from zero the more area it has. It is easier to think in terms of narrow x-axis bins making up the distributions. Let x_i be the center of the bin and y_i be its height, then the area is the sum over all i of (x_i * y_i). A normal area integral under a distribution broken up into bins would be sum over all i of (dx_i * y_i) were dx_i is the width of the bin. The reason for this is that what is being plotted on the x-axis is really the dependent variable. (A more physically intuitive graphic would be to plot the percent vote on the y-axis vs. the ballot station on the x-axis. You would not sum up the ballot stations as is being done here and there would be no meaning in the numerical order of the stations. But the proper integral/sum over the stations would give you the party total vote. There is no bell shape in this case.)

                The bell shape comes from binning the station results. In the above style graphs you basically sum up all the stations that got a given percentage of support for a party and make a plot vs. each percentage. This is then like the probability distribution for the percentage of the vote. It is basically an empirical fact and not some theoretical construct, that such probability distributions are bell curves. There is a peak around the value of the actual vote percentage and then a spread of values around it. If 50% is the total support for a party then there is the highest chance of finding a 50% vote at any station. But since voting is not homogeneous (i.e. there is variation between stations) there are going to be stations where the vote for the party is 25% or 75% or whatever, but the number of stations with such numbers has to be less than the number of stations with 50% votes. The farther from 50%, the less chance of seeing such numbers. What determines the width of the bell curve? That is complicated. But parties with large support like UR have more chance of seeing 75% at a ballot station than parties with low levels of support like Yabloko. So, in my view, the width of the bell curve shrinks as its peak approaches x=0. This is supported by the fact that support distributions are bell curves. They can’t be bell curves if fringe parties see huge vote percentages at a significant number of stations.

                Since voting is heterogeneous, it is possible to get multiple bell curves representing regional variations. if some hypothetical city was broken up into two socio-economic regions then you could expect rightist and leftist parties to have significantly different levels of support. Then these parties would get two peaks in their vote distributions.

  6. sinotibetan says:

    Dear yalensis,

    I am not particularly interested in the ‘black art’ of vote rigging…but here are some websites, since you asked:-

    A ‘paysite’ on this issue(if you are willing to pay for the article though):-

    Also, this statement by Anatoly is disputable:-
    “For any lingering skeptics, more evidence in addition to what I presented in the Al Jazeera article that Moscow’s elections were highly falsified: stations with electronic voting machines (which are hard to mess with) reported 30.0% for United Russia, in stark contrast to the 46.6% average for the city.”

    Just because it’s ‘electronic’ doesn’t automatically mean it’s ‘more accurate’ / ‘not likely to be tempered with’. Am I incorrect in saying that Russians are among the world’s best computer programmers(and perhaps there will be hackers among them too?).

    On the statement by Kirill:-
    “It seems the whole basis is which shows Yabloko getting 18.7% and Pravoye Delo 0.9%. The number for Yabloko is simply not credible. Even based on the graph you posted. The 25% for the KPRF is also suspect.”

    Hmmm…. Yabloko 18.7% – it’s either completely false or if true, than I am really sorry for Russia!

    My 2 cents.


    • Thanks, Sino-T. I agree with you about the corruptibility of computerized voting machines. If anything it seems they would be easier to rig than manual voting. In my day job I work as a computer programmer myself. Not in voting industry, to be sure, but if I did, I bet I could figure out how to hack an election. Not that I ever would (because I am honest), but I probably could…

  7. Anatoly: I read the comments on your Al Jazeera piece. In one rebuttal comment you mentioned that you were not able to post links because of the spam filter. There is a little trick that I learned from somebody who works with Disqus blogs, so try this it I hope it works for you, it is a way to initially disguise the link and trick the spam filter:

    Replace the dot after www with a space, for example “www”
    Post the comment.
    Then immediately “edit” your own comment. Put the dot back, then click on “Save edit”.


    • sinotibetan says:


      Thanks for your comments. Your ‘little trick’ shared with Anatoly proves that indeed you could hack an electronic voting programme, if you would. 😉

      Wow…I did not expect the mass protest in Moscow. I remembered you saying that Washington was targeting Libya, Syria, Iran and Russia – admittedly, I thought Washington ever ‘shaking up’ the Putin regime would be unsuccessful in the short term. Looks like I have to eat back my words?

      There’s one thing I don’t understand though. Apart from ‘Golos’, if it’s true that some opposition leaders(and I was surprised by your post that a member of the Communist Party was with ‘archfoe’ Biden and company)were in ‘collusion’ and ‘received aid’ from Western political ‘leaders’, wouldn’t their expose be something contemplated by Putin et al.(in a prime time news – say after the allegations against Hillary Clinton)?

      Don’t get me wrong though. If the majority of Russians do not like UR and Putin(I think not yet but they are losing support), then they certainly should vote for other parties/leaders. I think the problem is that there’s hardly any credible leaders in the opposition movement – those who are loyal to Russia FIRST and not to Washington/West first. The problem of no credible alternative. I think this is a cause of national destabilization when opposition parties get ‘support’ from foreign powers.

      Any thoughts?Any disagreements with my comments?


      • Thanks for comment, Sino-T! Bottom line is, this is a tricky situation, and Kremlin must be very careful and make decisions as wise as Solomon, otherwise everything could blow up and revert to anarchy. Russian bureaucracy has been very stupid and lazy, as Anatoly pointed out. Well, everybody gets stupid and lazy at some time. But any nation that is on American hitlist must strive to be perfect and not make any mistakes. Perfection is never rewarded, but all mistakes will be ruthlessly punished!

    • Thanks for that tip, yalensis. Exploited successfully.

  8. The real story in this election is the total, totalitarian-like, propaganda smear in the western media that Russian Duma elections were not free and fair. So we are to believe that the 30% UR got in Vladivostok is fraud (then what is their support? 15%?). Similarly, in St. Petersburg the 35% is fraud in their favour even though they got 49% in the ISI exit poll.

    All of the yapping is without any basis in fact. They cherry pick exit polls and basically just parade some liberast-tards who spout their opinion that they are unfree. Naturally, the western MSM audience is not informed that liberast-tards think in peculiar ways, for example that they are oppressed if Yabloko does not get a landslide majority. So I guess it’s OK for Russian media to interview some fringe elements in the US and claim whatever.

    So, once again, the whole basis of the western anti-Russian propaganda is the systematic disregard for Russian opinion polls. You will note how the ISI, VCIOM and Levada pre-election polls are *never* mentioned in any of the anglophone MSM.

    • alexander mercouris says:

      Dear Kirill,

      Indeed. The continuous misreporting of Russian affairs (including of both this election and of the protests) is disastrous both for the west (which ends up dealing not with the Russia that actually exists but with the Russia that it fantasises about) but also and mainly for Russia, which cannot hold an election and have a few demos without them both being completely misrepresented in absurdly apocalyptic terms. This unending relentlessly hostile commentary coming from such a powerful source must complicate political life in Russia to an incredible degree and must make the country’s normal political evolution far more protracted and far more difficult than it would otherwise be.

  9. AK, I seem to remember a blog post of yours which charted the opinion poll figures for individual personalities such as Zhirinovsky, Medvedev, Zyuganov, Yavlinsky and Putin (unless it was some other site, but I seem to remember it was a graph done in MS Word so I figured it was one of yours). I can’t find it though. I was wondering how the potential candidates for the presidential election stack up in the polls (Putin, Mironov, Zyuganov and now Prokhorov). I also expect Zhirinovsky will declare himself a candidate.

  10. BTW guys, glad to see the poll is Gaussian. Never let it be said S/O falsifies the vote!

  11. Does anyone know how much of Luzhkov’s political machine participated in these elections? I know that it is municipal but were the staff at the polling stations in no way connected? What about FOM, was it possibly influenced too? Seems like the whole 25% UR support theory is based on FOM exit polls and some examples of fraud (sorry, the vote distribution curves prove no fraud). This could be a simple vendetta by the Luzhkov mafia working for their Londongrad don.

    If the claim that there was massive fraud is to be believed then there have to be many more examples shown such as the one by the Echo Moscvy blogger. Evidence also has to be produced that ISI, Levada and VCIOM engaged in poll fraud. The FOM farce is really, really weak evidence. That it is a state agency shows only that bureaucratic incompetence/negligence/corruption is stellar as always.

    The notion that pre-election polls were close to accurate in various regions, but egregiously wrong in Moscow has got to be a rare case in demographics. Party support is not some toss of the coin and nothing suggests there was more disaffection with UR in Moscow than in other regions. In fact, there is plenty of reason to believe that there was less. The 18.7% support for Yabloko seen in the FOM exit poll is evidence to me that the exit poll was badly sampled (if not faked). There would be much more Yabloko support in St. Petersburg and elsewhere if this number had any link to reality. But supposedly the Yabloko numbers in the various regions are not faked.

  12. Well obviously the North Caucasus is rigged which has always been rigged due to the fact that local criminal gangs have aligned themselves with Islamic militants and the drug trade but it is hard to believe the truth of what is said when foreign NGO’s since Putin has come to power has tried to overthrow his government especially direct CIA support for Chechen terrorist groups between 96-2001 who have also been involved in every other coloured revolution and rape and control of Russia in the 90’s.

    This Golos NGO which is not independent as one of its supporters USAID which Shakasvilli worked as a manager for its sub contractor in Georgia The Liberty Institute which USAID is also involved in supporting Dubai, a major terrorist financing hub, investment in a Caspian pipeline in Georgia.

    Given the high percentage in election results in Georgia, Azerbaijan and election engineering in Serbia 2000, MI6/CIA assassination attempt (Operation Bandit) on PM Kustinicia when he refused to annex Kosovo from Serbia, election fraud in Montenegro independence were illegal Albanians voted all of which revolve around US/EU post Soviet policy of securing Caspian oil and gas that bypass Russia.

    @Anatoly Karlin

    Seeing how you were on Al Jazeera I would like to point out that Qatar through its government charity Qatar charitable organization is one of the big 3 terrorist financing fronts in the world funding Sudanese infrastructure projects while Bin Ladin stayed in Sudan, KSM who worked for the Qatar government and Qatar’s is one of the main financiers of Chechen terrorism funding Basayeav and Khattabs invasion of Dagestan in 99 as outlined in the 9/11 lawsuit.

    600. Founded in 1991, the Qatar Charitable Society (or “QCS”) is a Qatari-based charity that now has offices throughout the world. Outside of its headquarters in Qatar, QCS
    currently has offices in Albania, Baku, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Dahgestan, Palestine, Pakistan, and
    Sudan. According to its website, QCS maintains the following mission:
    QCS aims to offer relief and help to orphans, victims of war and disasters
    by supporting them financially, socially and culturally up to the age of 18.
    QCS aids widows to meet living expenses particularly those who lost all
    relatives and friends.
    601. QCS’ website is managed by Hashem Hussain. Hashem Hussain is a member of
    the Qatari Government’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture and is both the
    administrative and billing contact for QCS’ website. In August 2001, Qatari Ambassador Ali bin
    Muhammad al-Usayri conveyed Qatar’s commitment to the rehabilitation of Sudan. Al-Usayri
    announced that the Qatari Government will contribute to Sudan through the efforts of the QCS.
    602. In 1999, the Russian Interior Minister stated that QCS funneled money from
    Qatar to radical Chechen al Qaeda groups. In response to this accusation, the Qatari Foreign
    Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jar al-Thani did not deny that Qatar is funding al Qaeda terrorists
    in Chechnia during a November 20, 1999, al-Jazeera television interview:
    Q. How do you answer these accusations?
    A. … The second issue, that of aid, I cannot says there is no aid –
    Q. Why this aid?
    A. First of all, we as a government cannot control the aid going abroad,
    some of which may go for humanitarian goals, and some may start as
    humanitarian but end up in another way. However, there is no
    monitoring because people are sympathizing with the Chechen
    603. In this interview with al-Jazeera, the Qatari foreign minister also betrayed his
    underlying sympathy in favor of Chechen terrorists:
    A. …We as a government may be able to control our sympathy although
    in the end we are only human beings and Muslims. What we see in
    Chechnya is painful for us as Qatari, Arab, or Muslim citizens.
    Therefore we cannot restrain the people’s feelings in this regard…
    604. The Qatar Charitable Society’s relationship with al Qaeda is very intimate. From
    the sharing of senior officers to the funding of al Qaeda attacks, QCS’ role has clearly been to
    serve Osama bin Laden and further his international terrorist aims.
    605. Qatar Charitable Society financially supports al Qaeda. The QCS’ financial
    support for al Qaeda was demonstrated during the trial of al Qaeda operatives involved in the
    1998 United States Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. In February 2001, the United
    States Government’s lead witness and former al Qaeda member, Jamal Ahmed Mohamed al-
    Fadl, testified on QCS’ relationship with al Qaeda. al-Fadl stated that in 1993 he was both a
    QCS employee and an al Qaeda member. He also stated that QCS’ leader at that time, Dr.
    Abdullah Mohamed Yusef, was a member of al Qaeda as well, and a member of the Sudanese
    political group the National Islamic Front (or “NIF”) that harbored Osama bin Laden in the early
    1990s. When al-Fadl testified on his role with the QCS, he described Dr. Yusef’s support of al
    Qaeda through the QCS:
    A. The guy, he runs a group, he is one of our membership, one of the al
    Qaeda group membership, and also he is Islamic National Front
    membership, and he was in Afghanistan. So he helped our people for
    the travel, documents, and also if some money come from the Gulf
    area to the organization, he gives the group some money from that
    Q. So the person that you knew in Afghanistan who was part of your
    group and part of the Islamic National Front, what was his name?
    A. Dr. Abdullah Mohamed Yusef.
    606. That two individuals, Al-Fadl and Dr. Yusef, were both members of al Qaeda and
    QCS indicates a high-level of coordination between the charity and the terrorist group. The
    complicity of QCS with al Qaeda’s terrorist acts is noted in Dr. Yusef’s funding of an al Qaeda
    attack through the QCS. As al-Fadl’s testimony states:
    Q. What did you do with him regard to the Qatar charitable organization?
    A. He helped the jihad Eritrea group, and also he give $20,000 for one of
    the attack (sic) outside of Sudan.
    607. Al-Fadl has also stated that QCS aided, abetted and materially supported al Qaeda through non-financial means. In his second day of testimony, Al-Fadl discussed a meeting of al
    Qaeda members in 1994 that took place in QCS offices:
    Q. When was the second meeting?
    A. It’s during ’94.
    Q. Where was it?
    A. In Jam Qatar Heira. It’s Qatar organization.
    Q. Is that the same organization you described yesterday or a different one?
    A. Yes, same one.
    Q. Is that the Qatar Charitable Organization?
    A. Yes.

    608. QCS’ history and pattern of conduct is that of furthering the spread of Islamic international terrorism wherever possible. This underlying goal of the QCS is revealed through its financing of Wahhabi terrorists in the Caucasus region.

    609. In April, 2002, the Azerbaijan Government annulled the registration of the QCS.
    This action was taken because, as stated by the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry, QCS engaged in activities that “contradict Azerbaijan’s national interests.” The Justice Ministry went on to say that QCS was targeted because it performed, “damaging activities that violate our national interests, as well as cooperated with terrorist structures and conducted propaganda inciting radical sectarianism, religious hatred and fanaticism.”

    610. In 1999, a group of Wahhabi militiamen invaded and took control of three districts of Dagestan, a country neighboring Chechnya. Dagestani police have identified that, the day before the attack, $200,000 were transferred into QCS’ account with the Dagestan Commercial Bank. Following the invasion, these funds were distributed to the terrorists.

    After this event, Dagestani police have been able to identify at least an additional $1,000,000 that QCS transferred to aid the attack against Russia. During this investigation, Dagestani police have determined that there were no records of the funds flowing into and out of the QCS for a number of years.
    611. The Government of Russia’s International sponsors of Chechen terrorist list, from
    1991-2000, is a comprehensive list of organizations that provided aid or support for terrorist
    organizations in Chechnya. The Qatar Charitable Society was included on this list.
    612. Ahmed Ali al-Bugainain and Dr. Abdullah Mohamed Yusef are aiders, abettors,
    agents, co-conspirators and material supporters of Qatar Charitable Society, al Qaeda, and
    international terrorism.

    • @johnUK: You are absolutely correct about Al Jazeera. That putrid nest of fake journalists, jihadists and terrorists is like an alliance of all the dark and evil forces in the universe. They are certainly no friends to Russia!

    • I think you are being far too harsh on AJ.

      If it was a “putrid nest of fake journalists” then things like my oped or e.g. this one would not be appearing there. It hosts a diversity of viewpoints.

      Yes, it has its flaws, but no more than any other national television station like RT, RFERL/Voice of America, France 24, etc.

      • “Yes, it has its flaws, but no more than any other national television station like RT, RFERL/Voice of America, France 24, etc”.

        AJ has become abhorred in Egypt, Syria and Libya because of its blatant disinformation campaigns about these countries in the past 12 months, surpassing any propaganda on any major tv channel in the past.

        These campaigns didn’t develop gradually, and they’re surely not something by which AJ has been known from before. The change – to what may be described as total malice – was abrupt, and therefore very insidious.

        If someone can point to malpractice on RT comparable to CNN, I’d be grateful to hear.

        One reservation: I don’t watch much tv, I don’t have a tv!!

      • @anatoly: Well, I agree it is commendable that AJ printed your article. Usually they only support the russophobic opinion. The “neocon” piece doesn’t really prove anything though, because AJ is specifically interested in any issues relating to Israel and the Muslim world. That’s okay, that’s their shtick. However, the role AJ has played in Arab Spring and specifically Libyan conflict is pro-NATO propaganda tool worthy of a Goebbels, even down the manufacturing of fake news in their sound studio in Dohar, Qatar. Having said that, I think you should continue to write for them, it will be a good thing, and I hope you didn’t take my comment as anything negative in your direction.

  13. Gotta agree with AK piece on AJ.
    1. nobody fakes an election so his party does worse (a bit) than innumerable polls said it would.
    2. Exit polls — can anyone think of anything easier to fake than an exit poll?
    3. Gaussian distribution argument assumes that UR supporters are evenly distributed — why would they be? Your more expensive neighbourhoods will have more UR supporters (given the reality of a Party of Power and the opportunities for “salary enhancement”)
    4. GOLOS, sorry, but someone funded and connected the way it is has lost credibility for me.
    5. Was there cheating? — sure — name an election anywhere that hasn’t got some. Cheating enough to put UR way out in front — obviously not.
    6. I’ve been an official election observer in Russia (Duma 1995, both Pres rounds 1996) and I can tell you that different voters vote at different items of the day — you could see the change over the course of a day — older types first thing, better dressed people later. So “exit poll” sampling has to take this into account. Did it?
    7. North Caucasus obviously an outlier but there are reasons. (For example I invite you to check out Quebec — almost always managed to vote for the winner of whatever party over 110 years. Got it wrong the last election when it went from 1/75 NDP members to 58/75 (!). But that’s a process to maximise access to the source of power and money. This time though they made the wrong guess). I’m not dumb enough not to think there was some “elevation” of the results in the NC. But pumping up 80-85% to 90% is not a game changer in the All-Russian context.

  14. @kirill, continuing above thread: Thank you very much for your explanation of the graph. I really appreciate it. I understand it now, at least in the abstract, and it is a good review of integral calculus as well! (I had been confused why choice of X-axis and Y-axis, but your explanation clarifies that. As you can tell, I have no background in sociology or statistics!)

  15. Anatoly: I don’t know if you saw, but INOSMI picked up and translated your AJ piece:

    My favorite comment:

    drr: нет ни одной леденящей душу истории, скажем, об отравлении кандидата, вокруг которой можно было бы сплотить народ.
    12/12/2011, 17:12
    Предлагаю “оппозиции” сделать из навального или немцова объект для сплочения всех противников власти. Он должен понять и простить, это же для общедемократического дела.

    LOL 🙂