By Paul Goble
Had there not been massive falsification of the vote in the Duma elections, United Russia would have won only 31 to 33 percent of the vote, not the nearly 50 percent the election commission reported, and would have lost to KPRF in many places but whose percentage of the vote was lowered by official actions, Sergey Shpilkin says.
The independent analyst says that “more than 13 million” of the votes counted for United Russia are problematic, the result of various machinations by the authorities. That is almost half of the total vote for United Russia and suggests that in reality it won far less (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/21/ot-obnuleniia-k-udvoeniiu).
According to the analyst, one of the features of Russian elections is that no two in a row are carried out with the same set of rules. This time around, there were four major shifts – greater restrictions on who could run, voting over three days rather than one, massive use of electronic voting, and the regime’s harsh response to Navalny’s promotion of “smart voting.”
Each of these opened new possibilities for fraud, and the Central Election Commission made it easier by removing many of the monitoring cameras that election watchers had relied on to ensure that officials didn’t stuff the ballot boxes or remove and destroy votes that Russians had actually cast.
The authorities used electronic voting as their avenue of choice to cast votes for their preferred candidates and parties. If this had not happened, United Russia would have received 33 percent, not 50; KPRF, 25 percent instead of 19; and LDPR and Just Russia – for Truth, ten percent each instead of 7.5 percent.”
The “New People” party would have gotten seven percent rather than five percent, but none of the other parties would have cracked the five-percent barrier. But what is clear, the more people who were identified as voting online, the more support United Russia got – in fact, some 8.5 million more, a statistically improbable outcome.
Outside of Moscow, this election resembled its predecessors in the sense that there were some regions with little or no falsification, many with some falsification and a few with massive levels of voter fraud. Again, that too played into the hands of United Russian rather than anyone else.
Such massive falsification not only underscores how unpopular the ruling party is but means that it is absolutely impossible for the rulers to have an accurate picture of what people really think. There is no true data set that the rulers have and don’t release. They rely on what they do – and so they have no idea what the people really want.
That is the conclusion of “The Forbidden Opinion” telegram channel, which adds that this is part of a much larger problem, one that will end only when the current regime does if then because the rulers of Russia today simply don’t know what kind of country they are ruling over since they read only their own press releases (t.me/TheForbiddenOpinion/5895).