Getting the Vote Out for United Russia
by Dr Alison van der Wateren-Smith
Today is polling day in Russia, and United Russia has no intention of leaving the result to chance. But how best to fix an election without attracting the attention of international election monitors? Here are United Russia’s top five failsafe methods of getting their vote out:
- Bribery: Students in Chelyabinsk were offered concert tickets if they photographed their ballot papers to prove they had voted for United Russia.
- Intimidation: Students who resisted bribery were threatened with ‘consequences’.
- Threats: An entrepreneur employing 40 people was threatened with a visit from tax inspectors if he refused to help in the elections. Since this would mean either paying a bribe or stopping work, he complied.
- Inducements: A paediatrician at a Moscow clinic was asked to vote for United Russia to secure funding for her clinic.
- Group Pressure: A civil servant working at Moscow City Hall was told to bring a list of at least 10 friends or acquaintances who had promised to vote for United Russia.
According to the Moscow Times, an election official said, “Everyone is under such stress. I really hope that these elections finish as soon as possible and the way they [the authorities] want.” If all else fails, there’s always good old-fashioned fraud. The official added, “We have been trained how to do it. Foreign observers, who do not speak Russian or understand cyrillic very well, will not notice anything.”