List Of Estimates On Fraud In Russia’s 2012 Presidential Elections

This post is a follow-up to a similar one for the 2011 Duma elections. It contains an extensive list of blogger, pundit and “expert” opinions on the extent of fraud in the 2011 Duma elections. Interspersed among these opinions and analyses are results from federal opinion polls, election monitors, and other evidence.

In general, it seems we can identify three “theses” or “clubs.” The 0% Club holds the idea that falsifications were non-existent or minimal; it is advanced by Kremlin officials and supported by many opinion polls. Its polar opposite is the 15% Club, which is – unlike in the Duma elections – now only claimed by opposition forces and some liberal and  Western media outlets. The 5% Club tends to arguee that Putin got a solid majority with some 56%-60% of the vote; almost all evidence converges to this figure. Most of the systemic opposition and arguably most Russians belong to this club.

The 0% Club (<2% fraud)

PRE-ELECTIONS POLLSLevada (66%), VCIOM (66%), and FOM (70%) all gave Putin more than its official result. However, because of the relative passivity of United Russia’s electorate – its supporters are less like to vote – raw (i.e. unadjusted) polling numbers almost certainly overstate Putin’s real electoral popularity.
* POST-ELECTIONS POLL: State pollster VCIOM reports 67% and Levada reports 60.7% responding they voted for Putin. Both figures are within their 3.4% margins of error.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Putin has 63.60% according to the Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation. This is more than 13% points above the 50% level that would have otherwise necessitated a runoff.
* CEC HEAD: Vladimir Churov said that “more honest elections than those in Russia will not be held in other countries in the near future, at least until they begin to adopt our technical experience” (refers to web cams at polling stations).
* PUTIN’s CAMPAIGN CHIEF: Stanislav Govorukhin said the election was the “cleanest in the history of Russia.”
* VLADIMIR PUTIN: The President-elect thinks that “there probably was some fraud, but it could only affect hundredths of one percent, well on 1% I can still imagine, but no more.”
* PRE-ELECTION PREDICTION: FOM gave Putin 61.7% on Feb 27-29, within 2% points of the official result, and Levada gave Putin 61.5% on Feb 24-Mar 1, within its 3.4% margin of error. Both couldn’t be legally published so close to election time. But predictions may implicitly assume fraud. VCIOM gave Putin 58.6% on Feb 11-12. But Putin’s popularity was rising during the next 3 weeks.
EXPERT ANALYSIS: Sergey Zhuravlev estimates 1.7% fraud using statistical analysis. This approach has methodological flaws.

The 5% Club (2%-10% fraud)

* Juha Savolainen thinks 3%-5%.
THIS BLOG’S AUTHOR: Anatoly Karlin estimates that Putin got 59%-60%, and so the aggregate level of falsifications is about 4%.
EXIT POLL: State pollster FOM gave Putin 59.3%, implying possible fraud of 4.3%They covered 81 regions, 800 stations, and 80,000 voters.
EXPERT ANALYSIS: Dmitry Kobak, a programmer, estimates 4.6% fraud using statistical analysis.
EXIT POLL: State pollster VCIOM gave Putin 58.3%, implying possible fraud of 5.3%They covered 81 regions, 800 stations, and 80,000 voters.
OBSERVERS: Anatoly Karlin, i.e. this blogs author, estimated a possible fraud figure of <5.9% by adjusting figures from observer protocols to get rid of the Moscow bias. This method has methodological flaws as there were few observers in the Putin-supporting countryside.
EXPERT OPINION: Aleksandr Kireev, a prominent Russia elections analystestimates 6% fraud.
EXPERT ANALYSIS: Sergey Shpilkin, veteran Russia elections analyst, estimates 6% fraud using statistical analysis. But his key assumptions are questionable.
* The difference between machine ballots and the overall result for United Russia is 6.1% as calculated by Aleksandr Kireev. This approach has methodological flaws.
EXPERT OPINION: Boris Ovchinnikov, a Russian blogger and mathematician, thinks that Putin got 55%-58%, translating into about 7% fraud.
EXPERT OPINION: Aleksandr Shen’, a prominent Russia elections analystgives a range of 5%-10% fraud.
* OBSERVERS: Protocols from Golos election observers gave Putin 54.8%, implying fraud of 8.8%. This approach has methodological flaws.

The 15% Club (10%+ fraud)

* OBSERVERS: Protocols from all election observers gave Putin 50.2%, implying fraud of 13.4%This approach has methodological flaws; nearly 50% of all observers were concentrated in Moscow, where Putin’s support is naturally lowest.
LOSS OF LEGITIMACY: Once fraud approaches 14%, the case can be made that Putin’s victory is illegitimate as a result of less than 50% would have necessitated a second round.
* The Economist, a British publication which the eXile called the “world’s sleaziest magazine,” strongly implies 14% fraud.
* Oleg Kozlovsky, an opposition activist, claims 14% fraud, with Putin getting no more than 50%.

Fraud In Moscow

OFFICIAL RESULT: Putin has 46.95% according to the Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation.
* EXPERT OPINION: Dmitry Kobak thinks Putin got a 47%.
OBSERVERS: Protocols from all election observers gave Putin 45.18%, implying fraud of 1.8%.  This may have methodological flaws.
* Statistical evidence strongly indicates that the fraud in Moscow was present but at very low levels in these elections.

Fraud In St.-Petersburg

OFFICIAL RESULT: Putin has 58.77% according to the Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation.
* Statistical evidence strongly indicates that the level of fraud in St.-Petersburg was a lot greater than in Moscow.
OBSERVERS: Protocols from all election observers gave Putin 50.35%, implying fraud of 8.4%This may have methodological flaws.

The Moscow Protests

In post-elections Мeetings, the anti-Putin one at Novy Arbat on March 10 got 10,000 (police), 22,600 (RIA estimate), 26,000 (Nikolai Pomeshchenko), or 25,000-30,000 (organizers). The precise details probably don’t matter; what ALL estimates concur on is that turnout plummeted from the 60,000+ levels of the three major post-Duma elections Meetings.

Putin’s post-victory rally at Manezh Square on March 5 got 70,000-110,000 people.

Further Reading

My best articles on election fraud in Russia:

If you like the words I write, and want me to write more of them, consider donating or supporting me on Patreon.