Russian election: Putin's United Russia wins landslide victory as communists contest vote

Russia’s 2021 legislative elections look to be ending in a familiar fashion: with a landslide win for the Kremlin’s United Russia party and the prospect of protests in the wake of evidence of mass electoral fraud.

With 98 per cent of votes counted, United Russia will have a constitutional majority in parliament. But it achieved that result on the back of a suspiciously high 49.79 per cent popular vote – and after massively delayed results on e-voting in Moscow, which turned a number of constituencies back towards the Kremlin.

The Communist party, which came a strong second even in official voting, with 19.5 per cent of the vote, is refusing to accept the e-voting results. Valery Rashkin, the head of the Moscow party, has announced a protest at the capital’s central square at 7pm tonight, Monday.

The Kremlin meanwhile has congratulated election officials for overseeing a “positive electoral process”. Vladimir Putin prioritised the “competitiveness, transparency and honesty of elections”, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said.

That the election would number among the most controversial of Russia’s post-Soviet history was clear even before voting began. In the run-up to the vote, authorities launched an unprecedented campaign of intimidation and suppression of dissenting voices. All but a handful were barred from running.

E-voting was viewed as one of the most vulnerable pillars of the electoral process itself. Even as the first returns from offline voting trickled in on Sunday evening, Roman Udot, the co-chair of Golos, an independent elections monitor, told The Independent that the addition of 2 million votes nationwide was an “unknowable black box” that no one could inspect.

Returns from e-voting in Moscow, 1.2 million votes, were expected shortly after polls closed; that was the case in the six other regions to employ the same technology. In Moscow, however, something was up. Results were first delayed an hour, then two hours. When they were finally added to official totals late on Tuesday morning, they turned Kremlin losses into Kremlin wins all across Moscow.

Eduard Lysenko, head of Moscow’s IT department, said the unusual delays were caused by several “recounts”. Experts from the Kaspersky Lab, a tech company with close ties to the Kremlin, had taken the time to conduct a “multiframe and multi-vectoral check” of the validity of results, he said.

Members of the SCO election observation mission attend a session at the Information centre of the Russian Central Election Commission (Vladimir Gerdo/Tass)

The suspicious count caught the attention of some of social media’s quicker wits. “Why did it take so long to get results from electronic voting in Moscow?” one asked in jest. Response: “Because they count the electrons manually!”

But for candidates like Mikhail Lobanov, the machinations were no laughing matter. The 37-year old maths lecturer was balloting as an independent on behalf of the Communist party in constituency number 197 in southwest Moscow. His United Russia opponent, the state TV propagandist Yevgeny Popov, made this one of the most intriguing battles across all Russia.

Mr Lobanov knew what he was up against, and led a spirited defence of his vote, haranguing election officials throughout the night. Those efforts saw him open up a sizeable lead of 11,000 votes in offline voting by the end of the count. But when the “black box” electronic voting was taken into consideration, Mr Popov magically moved the vote 20,000 the other way.

“It’s difficult to understand the message authorities are trying to send out,” the sleep-deprived candidate told The Independent on Monday afternoon.

“But it’s clear they don’t want to deal with the opinions of a large part of society. There will be no opposition in the Duma, there will be far fewer points of connection with the people, and that will inevitably lead to escalation. Mr Lobanov said he intends to coordinate with other defeated candidates to appeal for the electronic voting to be overturned.

Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov called for a protest in Moscow on Monday evening (EPA)

Similar late e-reverses in favour of the Kremlin were observed in battles between the Communist party’s Valery Rashkin (24.53 per cent) and Timofei Bazhenov (38.4 per cent); Yabloko’s Sergei Mitrokhin (21.85 per cent) and Oleg Leonov (26.28 per cent); independent Anastiya Bryukhanov (23.28 per cent) and Galina Khovanskaya (28.78 per cent); and Communist party candidate Denis Parfyonov (26.12 per cent) and Dmitry Pevtsov (38.32 per cent).

The closest anyone was allowed to get to unseating a Kremlin candidate was in the Nagatinsky district, where the Communist party’s Anastasiya Udaltsova led even after 99 per cent of votes had been counted.

She was eventually placed second to United Russia’s Svetlana Razvorotnevaya.

Some of the ugliest scenes of the count were recorded in St Petersburg, a city with conflicting traditions of dissidence and ruthless law enforcement.

There, counting was also delayed for several hours. There were fights, and multiple fake bomb alerts apparently designed to evacuate everyone, including monitors, from the building. In polling station number 803 in the southern district of the city, burly men staged an even more obvious attempt to interfere, upturning and opening ballot boxes. Opposition candidates said it was an attempt to annul ballots in the democratic-leading district.

In St Petersburg as elsewhere, official returns suggest the Kremlin will successfully maintain its complete dominance of all levels of political life. The question is at what cost, and whether the authorities can ride the wave of scandal; or provoke a repeat of 2011, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in indignation at fraud.

Tatyana Stanovaya, head of the R:Politik analytical firm, said the situation is not without risk, but appears to be less pressurised than it was in 2011. Then, popular anger was focused not only on the steal, she said, but on the return of Vladimir Putin to the top job.

“Today, society is disoriented, driven into a political depression, and without the prospect of changing course,” she said. “There isn’t the same desire to protest.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Stocks extend rally as index breaches 7,200

The Philippine index extended its rally and concluded above the 7,200-point territory on Friday, buoyed by improving economic prospects onshore and Wall Street’s climb overnight. The Philippine Stock Exchange index ... Read more »

Employers seek P500 million loan for 13th month pay

© STAR / File Employers seek P500 million loan for 13th month pay MANILA, Philippines — The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is taking part in the crafting of ... Read more »

Aus. PM Morrison to attend U.N. climate summit

Morrison had was unsure whether he would travel to the summit on Oct. 31-Nov. 12 because of pandemic related travel curbs, but those concerns are easing as Sydney ends its ... Read more »

Brussels ‘has a long way to go' to end deadlock over Northern Ireland

BRUSSELS has a long way to go to end the deadlock over Northern Ireland, the PM’s Brexit chief has said. It has to make significant changes to border checks and ... Read more »

Jaishankar to visit Israel next week

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will visit Israel next week for the first high-level engagement between the Modi government and the ... Read more »

Lynching as religion, caste simmer; wary political leaders silent

© Provided by The Indian Express THE DEAFENING silence of the political establishment, in both Punjab and Haryana, over the lynching of a Dalit Sikh by a group of Nihangs ... Read more »

Doctors should study arts to be in tune with patients, expert says

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Doctors and nurses should study the arts as part of their training so they are more emotionally in tune with their patients, an ... Read more »

Jamie Carragher names two signings Liverpool must make next summer

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool must strengthen at right-back and in attack next summer. The Reds opted against replacing the departed Gini Wijnaldum and made just one major signing in defender ... Read more »

Hunt: Showdown announces new Halloween event The Harvest

© Provided by GamePur Hunt: Showdown players love to joke that Hunt is a horror game, and it seems the upcoming Halloween event will roll with that theme. The event ... Read more »

Is Heroes & Empires free to play?

© Provided by GamePur Heroes & Empires is a mobile strategy game that combines RPG elements with the tactics of auto chess. It has an idle RPG system where you ... Read more »

Final TFT Set 5.5 patch buffs Kayle, nerfs Zyra and Akshan

Riot Games revealed several notable buffs and nerfs for the final Teamfight Tactics Set 5.5 update today, buffing Kayle and the Mystic trait while nerfing a total of four overperformers.  ... Read more »

89 kematian baharu Covid-19 direkod semalam

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Sarawak mencatatkan kes kematian tertinggi iaitu sebanyak 15, menurut data dikeluarkan GitHub. PETALING JAYA: Kementerian Kesihatan melaporkan sebanyak 89 kes kematian Covid-19 semalam, menurut ... Read more »

Pengundi makin bijak, ‘taktik lama' mungkin tak lagi berkesan

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Bersalaman dan melontar senyuman mungkin tidak lagi berkesan ketika berkempen pada pilihan raya akan datang, kata penganalisis. (Gambar Bernama) PETALING JAYA: Penganalisis politik Azmi ... Read more »

Antivaksin boleh dipenjara, denda RM50,000 kerana sebar berita palsu

© Provided by Sinar Harian SHAH ALAM – Kebebasan bersuara rakyat Malaysia seperti yang diperuntukkan dalam perkara 10(1)(a) Perlembagaan Persekutuan mempunyai had dan tidak sesekali melindungi aktiviti penyebaran berita palsu ... Read more »

Airlines grapple with vaccine refusers amid international travel restart

© REUTERS Most major global airlines say their hands are tied when it comes to making vaccinations mandatory for staff and travellers alike. Photo: Reuters As demand for air travel ... Read more »

Federal appeals court allows Texas abortion ban to stay in place while it considers Biden administration lawsuit

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol against SB 8, which prohibits abortions in Texas after a fetal heartbeat is detected on an ultrasound, on September 11, 2021 ... Read more »

Justice Department to Ask Supreme Court to Strike Down Texas Abortion Law

The Justice Department will petition the Supreme Court to strike down Texas’s law prohibiting abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, a spokesperson announced Friday. It was not immediately ... Read more »

Court again lets Texas continue banning most abortions

Abortion Texas (© 2021 Houston Chronicle) Texas can continue banning most abortions after a federal appeals court rejected the Biden administration’s latest attempt to stop a novel law that has ... Read more »

Bill Clinton “Up And About,” But Still Hospitalized; Joe Biden Sends “Best Wishes,” Says The Two Will Speak Today

UPDATED throughout with latest: Former President Bill Clinton has been admitted to UCI Medical Center in Orange to receive treatment for a non-Covid related infection, his spokesman said on Thursday. ... Read more »

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a ... Read more »

Trump-endorsed Max Miller's congressional campaign is largely self-funded, campaign finance reports show

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Former White House aide Max Miller emailed his supporters last week to boast that his congressional campaign, which former President Donald Trump endorsed before incumbent Anthony ... Read more »

Watchdog group files complaint against Psaki for promoting McAuliffe

A government watchdog group filed a complaint against White House Press secretary Jen Psaki, accusing her of violating the Hatch Act by appearing to endorse a candidate in Virginia’s governor ... Read more »

Clean energy program will likely be cut from budget bill

The Clean Electricity Performance Program, the cornerstone climate policy in Democrats’ massive social safety net package, will likely be dropped from the final budget deal after pushback from Sen. Joe ... Read more »

UK police rule MP David Amess murder a 'terrorist incident'

© Provided by dw.com Amess was a champion of animal welfare during his time in Parliament, having opposed practices such as fox hunting UK Member of Parliament David Amess was ... Read more »

Beasley again the top fundraiser in NC US Senate race

© Provided by Associated Press FILE – In this Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, file photo, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pat McCrory poses for a photo in Mount Airy, N.C. North ... Read more »

Health ministry reports 89 new Covid-19 deaths

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today PETALING JAYA: The health ministry reported 89 Covid-19 deaths yesterday, according to its GitHub database. Of the total, 19 were classified as brought-in-dead. The ... Read more »

Police: Connecticut man charged with murder worked at Fryeburg Fair with stabbing victim

Oct. 15—The Connecticut man charged with stabbing a fellow worker to death early Wednesday morning at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds allegedly was fighting with the victim after a night of drinking ... Read more »

Man wounded in Portland police shooting charged

Oct. 15—A New York City man wounded in a police shooting last weekend in Portland has been charged. Edward C. Hyman, 42, was charged Tuesday with criminal threatening and failure ... Read more »

Adele: Fans react to Easy On Me - singer's first new song since 2015

Fans around the world had been waiting since 2015 to hear new music from Adele and her new single Easy On Me was finally released overnight, causing a social media ... Read more »

Warriors new plan – chasing wins – might just pay off

© Provided by NBC Sports Last season, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said they weren’t chasing wins. Golden State finished eighth in the West, lost a nail-biter on the road to ... Read more »

How to watch Tennessee vs. Ole Miss: Live stream, TV channel, start time for Saturday's NCAA Football game

© Provided by CBS Sports Sep 29, 2018; Athens, GA, USA; A Tennessee Volunteers cheerleader on the sidelines during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at ... Read more »

Boris Johnson gives adorable lookalike son Wilfred a ride on his shoulders

BORIS Johnson gives son Wilfred a ride on his shoulders as the tot’s grandad Stanley lends a steadying hand from behind. The PM, who was enjoying a glass of red ... Read more »

Lefty NY pol ripped for saying hospitals ‘allegedly saving lives' amid COVID-19

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) insists that hospitals “make money out of allegedly saving lives,” as corporations. Hans Pennink A progressive New York lawmaker said Friday that local hospitals are “allegedly ... Read more »

Chandigarh: Coaching institute told to refund fee of student who quit midway

© Provided by Hindustan Times The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, said a student or a trainee may leave midstream if he/she finds the service deficient, substandard and non-yielding. ... Read more »

GMADA e-auction: Only 9 of 61 properties in Mohali find takers

© Provided by Hindustan Times A 5-acre commercial site in Aerocity proved to be the star property for GMADA, as it went for ₹192 crore against a reserve price of ... Read more »

Chandigarh: Woman buying vegetables falls prey to snatchers

© Provided by Hindustan Times The 55-year-old woman lost her chain to snatchers while buying vegetables near her housing society. (HT Photo) Two motorcycle-borne youths snatched the gold chain of a ... Read more »

12 held for gambling in Ambala, r₹r2.4 lakh recovered

© Provided by Hindustan Times The Ambala police teams raided several locations in the district on Thursday night and lodged nine cases at various police stations. (AFP) The Ambala police ... Read more »

Celtics waiving Ryan Arcidiacono, Juwan Morgan

The Celtics are releasing a pair of training-camp invitees, according to Jay King of The Athletic, who reports that guard Ryan Arcidiacono and forward Juwan Morgan are hitting waivers. © Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY ... Read more »

Fantasy Basketball: Biggest value risers from NBA preseason

We’re closing in on the start of the 2021-22 NBA regular season, which only means one thing… it’s 2021 fantasy basketball draft time. We all know about the stars, the LeBron ... Read more »

Passenger in pickup seriously injured after truck slams into SUV, home in Derry

Oct. 15—Elmer Derry said he and his wife were literally “shaken out of bed” when a pickup truck slammed into the side of their Derry home at 10:30 p.m. Thursday. ... Read more »