Russia voted yesterday. Or at least some of Russia voted. The media is trumpeting this as some great victory for United Russia, and Putin personally. But the truth is that turnout was the lowest it has been in years. This was even with ballot box stuffing [click the link to watch a video], and carousel voting [where groups are bused from polling station to polling station to vote multiple times].
From The Moscow Times:
According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, United Russia won a historic 343 seats in the next Duma, granting it a massive 76-percent supermajority capable of amending the constitution without support from any rival parties.
But that’s not the real story. The article continues:
…the natural bell curve of voter turnout compared to votes cast in Sunday’s election suggests that the true total turnout was just 37 percent — a whopping 11 percent lower (5.7 million votes fewer) than Russian officials claim.
Or as Slon noted:
BBC Russian Service’s Sergey Kozlovsky tweeted:
If we assume that turnout was 40% and ER [United Russia] took 40% of the vote, with the number of voters at 111.6 million, 16% voted for ER [United Russia].
18 million people out of 111.6 million voters.
This is not exactly a ringing endorsement. There was apparently at least some concern on the part of the Regime that this would make their “election” appear illegitimate.
Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov noted:
…[the government] did everything to kill voters’ trust in this institution, to prove to voters that they have no alternatives, that the result is known in advance.”
Kasyanov also accused the Regime of being “afraid of an uncontrolled outcome”, and thus they resorted to their normal tactics of election fraud.