Election in Russia: Election watchers expose Putin's tactics

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All for Putin? In Russian elections, eligible voters must cast their ballots into glass urns. © Uncredited/dpa

With all the tricks: Putin wants to consolidate the position in the elections in Russia. Election watchers see enough signs to deal with.

MOSCOW – Magic ink, glass urns or rejected ballots: more and more contradictions are emerging in the elections that have started in Russia. It was met with massive criticism from international election observers from afar. “The Russian presidential election has nothing to do with fair and free elections according to OSCE standards,” said Bundestag member Robin Wegener (Greens), a member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. fr.de Van IPPEN.MEDIA. Instead, what was expected was “the staging of a dictator,” he added.

Manipulation of elections in Russia: Election watchers sound the alarm

A controversial presidential election has begun in Russia that will ensure Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin's continued rule without opposition parties. In the world's largest country by area, the first polling stations in the Far East opened on Friday (March 15). The election, aimed at giving 71-year-old Putin another six years in office, has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and allegations of massive fraud. Due to eleven different time zones, elections in Russia will last until Sunday (March 17).

The first forecasts and results are expected after the last polls in Kaliningrad, on the Baltic Sea, close at 7 p.m. Russian state pollsters are already predicting Putin, who is seeking his fifth term in power in nearly a quarter-century, to win more than 80 percent of the vote. That would be the highest end for him. Putin's three rivals, all of whom are aligned with the Kremlin, are considered to have no chance.

Tricky: Why Does Putin Even Need Elections in Russia?

In German politics, the Kremlin's actions have already met with strong reactions across all parties. Including BSW leader Sahra Wagenknecht, Russia describes the election as a “farce”. Nevertheless, it was a show that Putin needed. At least that's how Wegener sees it: “Although Russia under Putin has developed into an even more totalitarian autocracy, the ruler needs legitimacy,” the green politician added: “Since Putin lacks the appropriate approval among the people, he is only further endorsed by the Kremlin-linked opposition.”

Magic ink and the glass jar: This is how Putin cheats his way to new office in Russian elections

But despite good prospects for the desired outcome, Putin is playing it safe in the Russian election. After many opposition politicians were silenced by arrests in recent years, the tactics are now being used on official election days as well. During the last election in 2018, there were reports of staff stuffing entire stacks of ballot papers into ballot boxes at several locations at once. Observers do not believe it is out of the question that the brazen manipulation of the current Russian election could be repeated.

Elections in Russia: Kolos election observers record many violations

Otherwise, the Kremlin appears to be working with more subtle means to secure Putin a new term. Independence Day Election monitoring site KOLOS Complaints of electoral irregularities increased on Friday. Some voters reported that special pens filled with magical ink to mark the ballot paper melted into thin air when heated. Doubt: The crosses will be replaced later. Her ballot was flatly refused on the information that another lady had already voted. Many polling stations also have glass urns guarded by officers loyal to the government. It is quite possible that not everyone has the courage not to sign their cross to Putin.

Suspected cases of electoral irregularities reported to KOLOS cannot be independently verified. International election observers are not allowed to participate in elections in Russia. “Putin is replacing international election observers with hand-picked foreign equipment – apparently even from the AfD,” said Green politician Wegener. fr.de Van IPPEN.MEDIA. It shows a shared disdain for democracy,” he added. Three members of the right-wing populist state parliament had already caused an outcry because they wanted to travel to Russia as election observers at the invitation of the Kremlin.

Russia Expert: “Most Manipulated Election in 30 Years”

However, for Russia experts, the developments are surprising. Sabine Fischer of the Science and Politics Foundation's Eastern Europe and Eurasia Research Group said that civil society election monitoring, which had become more professional in the last 15 years of conflict with increasingly authoritarian rule, had been deliberately destroyed by the Putin regime. tagesschau.de. “All this – especially under the conditions of a full-scale war against Ukraine – adds up to a picture of the most heavily manipulated election in the last 30 years.” (jkf)

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