Izvestia daily publishes an interview with the former head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission, Ambassador to Latvia Alexander Veshnyakov. He shared his views on the rallies supporting honest elections, on web cameras at election stations and on the methods of work with international observers.
“We may state that most part of Russia’s citizens does not trust the elections' results,” Veshnyakov said. “And this mistrust they are expressing in a democratic form – this was demonstrated at the rally on December 10 and those following it. This is an alarming signal. Since if so many people do not have trust, then it means there are reasons for that.”
He continued saying the reaction from the authorities in power followed; the president announced a major liberalisation of the order of registering political parties and a complex of measures for a political reform. Veshnyakov agrees this should be done. He paid attention to the fact that the legislation includes criminal responsibility for those falsifying election results. “Unfortunately, similar cases were also revealed in the time when I worked as chairman of the Central Elections Commission,” he said expressing regret nobody was sentenced to realistic imprisonment. He thinks if those accused of falsifications are not punished severely, the number of violations would be growing as an avalanche and the indignation of electors and dissatisfaction with elections would be growing, too.
Alexander Veshnyakov considers the decision to install web cameras understandable and supports it. He said that the cameras should not only fix what is happening at a station in general. “It is necessary to fix the procedure of counting the vote at election stations, filling in the election results protocols, voicing of results in the protocols, a more detailed form of protocols, which should be made, and handing in of a signed copy of the final protocol from an election station to observers there,” he said.
He commented on complicated relations between Russia’s Central Elections Commission and foreign observers and on the work of observers representing candidates. Where work of election commissions complies fully with the legislation, where all regulations are observed, there are no disputes with observers, he said. “Where election commissions are under pressure from various structures wishing certain results, this is where all misunderstandings and scandals are happening,” Veshnyakov said.