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MOSCOW, March 7 (Itar-Tass) —— The nature of falsifications at elections has changed, “the number of doctored records in protocols has gone down,” Dmitry Oreshnkin, a co-founder of Russia’s League of Voters said on Wednesday.
“The novelty in this campaign was enterprises of ‘a continuous production cycle,’ for which special ballot stations were set up and additional lists of voters without absentee ballots were drawn. Hence, it was impossible to be sure, whether these people cast their votes only once,” Oreshkin told a news conference. Elections monitoring, in his words, was of “Moscow-focused” character, i.e. the majority of observers worked in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Another co-founder of the League, Georgy Vasilyev, said that “practically no protocol re-writing was reported in Moscow.” “They decided not to infuriate Moscow,” he said. At the same time, he noted that 37 percent of observers registered other violations in Moscow. As many as 48 percent of observers registered infringements in St. Petersburg, and 27 percent across entire Russia, he said. Although only 1,000 out of 5,000 reports submitted to the unified information system – Summary Report - have been checked, the League of Voters believes its sampling “is rather representative,” he added.
Earlier, the Russian Central Election Commission voiced concern over the League’s plans to make an alternative vote counting on the basis of the Internet project Summary Report. “Actually, it is a very difficult task to collect data from 95,000 polling stations across the country and check them,” the Central Election Committee said and added that 1.3 million had been engaged in this job. The Central Elections Commission was concerned over a possible impact of results achieved by the League on public opinion. “Color revolutions in a number of countries were kicked off by such precedents,” said deputy chairman of the Central Election Commission Leonid Ivlev.
Earlier in the day, the League of Voters circulated a memorandum saying that the presidential elections of March 4 “were not equal because the discrimination of popular politicians has stripped the citizens off the possibility of making a choice and made the competition for the candidate from the authorities much easier.” According to the memorandum, the elections “were not fair because candidates were canvassing in unequal conditions,” they were “not fair because vote counting was accompanied by systemic rigging, which has dramatically distorted the voters’ preferences.”