Moscow’s 2014 Election: Will the Democrats Unite?

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(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Vladimir Kara-Murza – May 23, 2013) Next year, Moscow will hold its legislative elections. Traditionally, elections in Russia’s capital city are considered a national event. IMR Senior Policy Advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza contends that the democratic opposition stands a significant change of success-but only if it finally manages to unite. Russian politics are made […]

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Bill on mixed elections to Duma to determine development of Russia’s entire political system – Naryshkin

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 20, 2013) The new bill on mixed elections to the Russian State Duma will become the basis for the development of the political system in the country, however it is difficult to forecast what this system would be like in five years, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said on Monday. “In my point of view, this […]

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The incompetent many or the corrupt few?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Grigorii Golosov – May 20, 2013) Grigorii Golosov is Professor of Political Science, Project Director, Center for Democracy and Human Rights Helix, St. Petersburg Recent protest rallies and continuing opposition sentiment have provoked the Kremlin into reform.  The first part of the process sees the partial return of regional governor elections, abandoned nine years ago in favour of […]

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Golos vote-monitoring association may be suspended if not registered as foreign agent – official

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) The operations of the Golos association specializing in monitoring elections in Russia may be suspended for half a year if a court recognizes it as a foreign agent but it still refuses to be registered as such, a Justice Ministry official has said. Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the State Duma on Wednesday, […]

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Most Russian Regions to Opt for Governor Polls – Putin

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(RIA Novosti – BOCHAROV RUCHEI (Sochi), May 16, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the majority of Russian regions is likely to choose their leaders by direct popular vote. The return of direct gubernatorial elections, scrapped in 2005, was signed into law last year in the aftermath of a wave of anti-Kremlin protests. Earlier this year, Putin […]

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Court Upholds Right to Appeal Election Results

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – April 23, 2013) The Constitutional Court has ruled that Russian voters should be allowed to appeal election results directly, overruling earlier judgments that permitted only political parties and candidates to dispute official vote counts in the courts. The court’s ruling, published on its official website on Monday, follows complaints by human rights […]

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Voters have the right to directly protest election returns in court – Constitutional Court

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, April 22, 2013) The Russian Constitutional Court has confirmed the right of voters to protest election returns in court and declared the practice of banning direct applications to courts unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court announced a corresponding resolution on Monday after checking several provisions of Civil Proceedings Code and federal laws on guarantees of electoral rights and […]

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Leading Russian human rights groups speak out for embattled NGO

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, April 17, 2013) Heads of leading Russian NGOs disagree with accusations levelled by the authorities at the human rights association Golos facing a heavy fine. “We think it is absurd to say that the organization that led the fight for fair elections in Russia is acting in the interests of foreign states and is a foreign agent,” […]

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Duma Endorses Election Reform in First Reading

Duma Session file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – April 17, 2013) The State Duma on Tuesday passed in a first reading a bill that would reintroduce a mixed voting system for parliamentary elections, despite a heated argument on the Duma floor that it favors pro-Kremlin forces. In voting late Tuesday afternoon, 296 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, 148 […]

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Big Changes Afoot – But Only After Sochi

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 11, 2013) The number 303 stood Wednesday on a digital clock on Manezh Square that counts down the days to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and President Vladimir Putin is watching it closely as the government races to make the final preparations for the Games. But that clock may be counting down […]

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Golos Under Scrutiny by Prosecutors

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 4, 2013) The Prosecutor General’s Office has requested documents from elections watchdog Golos and the organization’s newspaper, Grazhdansky Golos, as part of its check into nongovernmental organizations. Golos’ deputy director, Gregory Melkonyants, was presented with a written request for all legal documents, including information on staff, a schedule of activities with a list of […]

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Governor’s Favorite Declared Mayoral Vote Winner

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – April 2, 2013) Governor Andrei Vorobyov’s preferred candidate was on Monday declared the winner of a small town mayoral election marred by allegations of widespread fraud. Sunday’s election in the Moscow region town of Zhukovsky, 25 kilometers southeast of the capital, was seen as a litmus test of people’s trust in the […]

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Putin Signs Law Allowing Regions to Cancel Governor Polls

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MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law that allows regions to decide whether they want to elect a governor by a direct popular vote or let regional legislatures choose them from nominees approved by the president. The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament whose members initiated the bill, passed […]

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Litmus Test Election Reveals Flaws

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 1, 2013 – Natalya Krainova) ZHUKOVSKY, Moscow Region ­ This town of 100,000 people, 25 kilometers southeast of the capital, elected its mayor on Sunday in an election marred by numerous reports of falsifications and vote-buying in favor of the government-sponsored candidate. The election was seen as a litmus test of people’s trust in […]

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Independent Poll Workers Highly Concentrated in Moscow

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – March 27, 2013) Unprecedented numbers of independent poll workers will help ensure clean elections in Moscow and St. Petersburg through 2018, a group of leading vote monitors said Tuesday, but the ruling United Russia party and local governments will continue to control polling stations elsewhere, a lingering risk of electoral fraud. In […]

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Kremlin Slams Embarrassing Report that Claims United Russia Lost Duma Elections

Russian Duma Building

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris – March 14, 2013) The Kremlin said on March 13 that the author of a report that claims the ruling United Russia party actually lost the 2011 elections to the Communist Part of the Russian Federation thanks to fraud needs psychiatric help is surprising and extremely embarrassing. The report is embarrassing as […]

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Kremlin Rebuffs Report Questioning Duma Vote

Duma Session file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – March 14, 2013) Senior government officials on Wednesday rejected as pure fantasy a leaked report that cast doubt on the ruling United Russia party’s victory in the 2011 State Duma elections, saying its author should seek psychiatric help. The report, written by Stepan Sulakshin, director of the Governance and Problem Analysis Center, […]

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Elections Commission Chief Slams Report Claiming 2011 Duma Elections were Rigged

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – March 13, 2013) Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chairman Vladimir Churov has criticized a report issued by a think-tank claiming that the 2011 elections to the State Duma were rigged and that the Communist Party actually garnered more votes in them than the United Russia party. A number of media outlets on Wednesday published conclusions from a report […]

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Justice Ministry Refuses to Check Golos Election Watchdog

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(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – February 26, 2013) The Justice Ministry has refused to conduct a check into election watchdog Golos’ compliance with recently passed legislation requiring foreign-funded organizations to register as “foreign agents” despite over 100 requests to do so. The ministry received 120 requests to recognize Golos as a foreign agent, and 350 such requests for the Levada […]

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Russian Duma Backtracks on Direct Regional Elections

Duma Session file photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 25 – Richard Arnold – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – February 11, 2013) United Russia brought a bill before the Duma for a first reading on January 23, 2013, that would permit regional legislatures to cancel direct gubernatorial elections for the “multi-ethnic” regions of Russia. Instead, parties in regional legislatures would pick three candidates […]

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Is Putin afraid of the Caucasus?

Map of Caucasus and Central Asia

(www.opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky – February 4, 2013) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg Russian lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a law to allow governors to be appointed in the country’s 83 regions, reversing last year’s move to restore direct elections. As Daniil Kotsyubinsky reports, this issue is unimportant in itself, but it exposes […]

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United Russia proposes bill allowing regions to forgo direct gubernatorial elections

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – January 31, 2013) Nine months after popular gubernatorial elections were re-introduced on the initiative of former President Dmitry Medvedev, a 90 percent majority in the Russian Duma votes “yes” on a bill that gives regional legislatures the right to scrap them. President Putin believes the measure could prevent […]

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Majority of Russians against early Duma elections – poll

Duma Session file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – A little more than half of Russians are against the hypothetical dissolution of the State Duma and early parliamentary elections – about twice as many as those who want new elections, an opinion poll suggests. Moreover, more than two-thirds of Russians don’t want to take part in protests such as those that have been rocking […]

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Bill to Limit Gubernatorial Elections Approved

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – January 24, 2013) State Duma deputies on Wednesday overwhelming passed in its first reading a bill that would give regional assemblies the right to abolish direct elections for governors, likely weakening a key pro-democracy reform signed last year by then-President Dmitry Medvedev. A total of 403 deputies voted in favor of the […]

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Vote Watchdogs Urge Activists to Become Elections Officials

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – January 22, 2013) A presidential election in Russia isn’t scheduled for another five years, but the people who will run the polling stations and count the ballots are already being selected. Regional elections officials have until April 30 to form more than 90,000 local elections commissions nationwide ­ one for every polling […]

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Russian Political Party Logos: Any Takers For ‘Skunk’ Or ‘Hamster’?

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(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – January 22, 2013) Russian politics is so inclusive, pluralist, and teeming with new political parties that each party should adopt an animal as its insignia to make it easier for overwhelmed voters to remember which party is which. This is the solution put forward by Aleksandr Sidyakin, a 35-year old United Russia parliamentary deputy, to […]

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Bill Seeks to End Election of Governors

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – December 19, 2012) A bill that could once again abolish direct gubernatorial elections, which were reinstated this year, was submitted to the State Duma on Tuesday by members of the majority United Russia party. Popular elections of governors were discontinued following the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, when Vladimir Putin, early […]

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Putin Slams ‘Foreign Interference’ in Russian Politics

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin warned against foreign interference in Russia’s domestic affairs during his state-of-the-nation address Wednesday, casting local political actors who get money from abroad as a fifth column serving foreign interests. “Direct or indirect interference from outside in our internal political processes is unacceptable,” he said. Someone “who receives money from abroad for […]

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Russian human rights activists boycott Law on Foreign Agents

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – November 19, 2012) Leading Russian NGOs intend to ignore the legislative amendments which require the registration as “agents of foreign influence” of non-governmental organizations with Western backing. The law will enter into force on Nov. 20, Tuesday. “I do not know a single human rights organization, which has appealed for being registered as a “foreign agent,” said Lyudmila […]

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Summer is cancelled for Russia’s bureaucrats -­ but will they play ball?

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(Mikhail Loginov – www.opendemocracy.net –  November 2, 2012- Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St. Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”.) October is Russia’s local election month, and some regions have just elected governors for the first time in seven years, part of an electoral reform designed to […]

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Russian American Vote Could Sway Tight US Presidential Election

Mit Romney file photo

WASHINGTON, November 5 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) – If the 2012 US presidential election is close enough in the right states, the winner could be determined in part by a group of voters barely acknowledged on the national political scene: Russian Americans, who number more than three million in the US and overwhelmingly vote Republican. “States where the […]

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NEWSLINK: More Russian Election Intrigue

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Russia: Other Points of View – Gordon M. Hahn – October 24, 2012 – http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2012/10/more-russian-election-intrigue.html Gordon M. Hahn examines recent Russian gubernatorial, legislative assembly, mayoral, and municipal council elections across the country: Russian authorities’ at all levels in the United Russia (UR) party continued use of the infamous ‘administrative resources’; that is, using state institutions to give their party and […]

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Rocking the vote? The opposition’s elections have been labeled a ‘toy project’ ­ but proved to be colorful

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(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Yulia Ponomareva – October 22, 2012) In contrast with official polls, the transparency of the elections to the opposition’s coordination council has not been questioned by watchdogs ­ and this is beside the fact that all of the candidates faced off in televised debates. The results, however, will have little if any practical effect ­ […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov

Vladimir Putin file photo

Kremlin.ru –  October 15, 2012 – photo is a file photo Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region Mr Churov briefed Vladimir Putin on the results of elections held in a number of regions around the country. Local and regional elections took place in 77 regions around Russia on a single voting day on October 14. […]

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NEWSLINK: The voters do not show interest in the gubernatorial elections

Map of Russia

(“The voters do not show interest in the gubernatorial elections “- ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – October 15, 2012 –http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/546081.html) ITAR-TASS reports on recent regional elections in Russia, termed “dirtier” than the December election and characterized by allegedly low official turnout: On Sunday, the Single Voting Day was held in Russia. The elections and referenda at various levels were […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian elections preserve Putin’s dominance, opponents cry foul

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Russian elections preserve Putin’s dominance, opponents cry foul – Reuters – Gabriela Baczynska and Maria Tsvetkova – October 14, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/14/us-russia-elections-idUSBRE89D0GC20121014 Reuters covers Russia’s recent regional elections.  Vladimir Putin-backed ruling party United Russia came out on top, but amidst widespread allegations of voting violations: The first big elections since Putin began a new six-year term in May will do […]

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One Russia Did Well In Regional Polls But Must Not Rest On Laurels – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 14 October) Russian Prime Minister and One Russia (United Russia) (ruling party) leader Dmitriy Medvedev has said that, judging by preliminary results, the party did better in the (regional) elections held on Sunday (14 October) than in the election to the Russian State Duma (in December 2011). “Regarding elections results in the regions where vote count has […]

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Putin Loyalists Assert Control in Russian Regional Elections

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – October 15, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies dominated Russia’s first gubernatorial elections in eight years that opposition parties said were marred by abuses. The ruling United Russia party’s candidates won all five races for governor and six local legislative contests, according to preliminary results announced today by officials from local election commissions […]

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Russia Polls Revolve Around Moscow Suburb Vote

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MOSCOW, October 12 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – Russians vote in regional elections on Sunday from the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad to the Pacific coast, but with the focus firmly on the heated battle for ballots in a small Moscow satellite city. The nationwide polls are the most important in Russia since Vladimir Putin was elected to a third presidential […]

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Putin Braces for First Russian Election Since Kremlin Return

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Anton Doroshev – October 12, 2012) Russia’s regional elections, including the first gubernatorial polls in eight years, are testing President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to reassert control after the largest protests in more than a decade. Contenders backed by the ruling United Russia party may suffer setbacks in at least 10 mayoral and local […]

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Putin Signs Law Creating Single Voting Day in September

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – October 4, 2012 President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a law introducing a single voting day for regional and federal elections, a measure that opposition politicians said was illegal and would benefit the ruling party. Meanwhile, the Central Elections Commission proposed restrictions on how people can take photographs and make video recordings […]

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Russia’s unnoticeable elections – unnoticeable results?

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Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – October 5, 2012 A round of 73 regional and municipal elections that start on October 14 will be the first real test for Russia’s nascent protest movement. The first protests were sparked by popular outrage to rigged Duma elections last December and were followed by large crowds protesting against […]

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Georgia Abuse Outcry Lifts Russia-Linked Billionaire in Vote

Map of Georgia

By Helena Bedwell and Henry Meyer – Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – September 28, 2012 Public outcry over the rape and beating of prisoners in a Georgian prison is threatening the nine-year rule of U.S. ally President Mikheil Saakashvili in Oct. 1 parliamentary elections. While Saakashvili’s ruling party held a lead of more than 20 percentage points in a poll conducted […]

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Golos Vows to Carry on Monitoring Despite USAID Moscow Office Shutdown

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MOSCOW. Sept 20 (Interfax) – The independent election monitor Golos is searching for Russian sponsors to substitute grants from the closing Moscow office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Golos said some of its projects were endangered by the USAID pullout. “Nevertheless, we will continue election monitoring no matter what,” says the Golos statement received by Interfax […]

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