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Russian election chief warns of fake news blitz and incitement at presidential polls

February 20, 14:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia’s Central Election Commission chief warns attempts will be on the rise to discredit the upcoming Russian presidential election and provocations may be staged at ballot stations.

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© Alexandr Sherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission chief Ella Pamfilova told TASS in an interview that attempts will be on the rise to discredit the upcoming Russian presidential election and provocations may be staged at ballot stations.

"It should be also noted that given the current climate, when not a single day passes without Russia getting accused of everything bad under the sun, a wave of discrediting the election will mount. Huge resources will be shelled out by those who find it necessary to weaken our country at any price," Pamfilova warned.

Among the tools that are anticipated to smear the election are fabricating and disseminating fake news about alleged violations, particularly through social networks, she pointed out. "This is done to cook up negative information so that so-called independent experts could use to draw conclusions about ‘mass violations.’"

Various provocations are being hatched, which will be carried out at voting stations, going even as far as damaging ballots, Pamfilova warned, stressing: "I want to send a warning that we will be ready to take on any provocateurs at full throttle to sharply resist [these attempts] and fully stave them off."

The Russian Central Election Commission regards observers working during the election campaign as allies of the election system and its "supplementary reserve" in the struggle for a fair election.

"There is a derived rule: the more public observers there are at the polls, the fewer technical and intentional mistakes in the election process, vote counting and formalization of final protocols there will be. This is why we and our colleagues are paying so much attention to bolstering and developing a public monitoring body," Pamfilova noted.

"The observers are our allies and a supplementary reserve in the fight for a fair election, just like the mass media, by the way," the election commission chief assured.

She said that "the parties’ maturity and competence are now assessed with regard to reporters and the ability to attract a great number of observers for work at the election.

Apart from observers sent by the parties and candidates, representatives from the federal and regional civic chambers will also be working at the Russian presidential election for the first time. The Russian presidential election is scheduled to be held on March 18.

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