The Kremlin is planning to rig the results of Russia's parliamentary elections on Sunday by forcing millions of public sector workers across the country to vote, the Guardian has learned.I'm sure Jimmy Carter will be quick to certify the election as fair and legitimate.
Local administration officials have called in thousands of staff on their day off in an attempt to engineer a massive and inflated victory for President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party. Voters are being pressured to vote for United Russia or risk losing their jobs, their accommodation or bonuses, the Guardian has been told in numerous interviews with byudzhetniki (public sector workers), students and ordinary citizens.
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The Kremlin insists Sunday's elections will be free and fair, despite inviting only 400 international observers to monitor the poll, which is taking place in 95,784 polling stations across the world's biggest country. This month the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) cancelled its mission to Russia after Moscow refused to give its experts visas.
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Bloggers on Russia's most popular social networking site, Livejournal, have posted numerous accounts of intimidation. One in Murmansk wrote that he was told that if he didn't vote for United Russia "the management would get it in the neck".
Another in Yekaterinburg wrote: "Today my wife came home in shock. As the boss of a state company she has been told that all her workers living in different parts of town must take absentee ballots and go to vote in Kirovsky district. She has to go and sit all day on December 2 and call round everyone in her collective. Then she has to provide a list of who has voted." She then received a directive warning her to add anybody who didn't vote for United Russia to a list, and later those people would be "called to the office" of the local administration.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Putin hard at work rigging this Sunday's election
Russian president Vladimir Putin is hard at work intimidating the opposition, rounding up dissidents and stuffing the ballot box with votes from public sector workers ordered to vote...or else.