Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 06, 2011

Pre-Election Polls Confirm Russian Election Results

"Western" organizations and media are alleging irregularities in Sunday's elections in Russia.

Western observers reported Monday that the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections were seriously distorted by ballot stuffing and a lack of transparency, which suggests that the ruling United Russia party did even worse than the official count showed.

The election leading and governing United Russia Party gets accused of manipulating the votes in its favor. These allegations seem to be based based on some dubious youtube videos, anecdotal stories and a small demonstration by some opposition members in Moscow.

There is always a good test when such allegations come up. Do the results of the election fit with the prediction of independent pollsters issued before the election?

Before Sunday's vote the Associated Press wrote:

A poll released Friday predicts that Vladimir Putin’s party will receive 53 percent of the vote in Russia’s parliamentary election, now a little over a week away.

While still a majority, this would be a significant drop for United Russia and deprive it of the two-thirds majority that has allowed it to amend the constitution without seeking the support of the three other parties in parliament.

Russia TV reported:

The All-Russian Public Opinion Centre polls predicts United Russia is set to get between 55-58% of votes, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation 16-19%, the Liberal Democratic Party 11-14% and Fair Russia 6.5-9.5%

AFP added:

Two polls published ahead of the elections showed United Russia is expected to keep its current majority but win no more than 262 seats in the 450-member Duma.

Now let's look at the election results:

According to preliminary results released by the Central Elections Commission on Tuesday, the United Russia Party got almost 50 percent of the vote which translated into 238 of 450 seats in the Duma. The Communist Party came second with about 20 percent of the votes and a total of 92 parliamentary seats. A Just Russia Party is in the third place with more than 13 percent and 64 seats. The Liberal Democratic Party got 56 seats, while three parties - Yabloko, Right Cause and Patriots of Russia – failed to make it to the Duma.

United Russia's share of the vote was less than all the independent polls predicted. If the party or the government it leads really manipulated the election why would that be the case? Did they really give themselves less votes than the pre-election polls have led anyone to expect?

Would someone manipulating an election in the U.S., local or nationwide, organize for less votes to their  cause than independent pre-election polls would suggest? Why?

Russia is a big country. It is likely that there were some irregularities in this or that polling station. Such manipulations happen everywhere and that is why we have laws against them. But given the pre-election polls and the election result it is not plausible that the manipulations in Russia were organized by, or in favor of United Russia.

Stoking up rumors and creating serious unrest in Moscow is still a wet dream for "western" cold-war warriors, neocons and their "liberal" allies in Russia. They wish back the days of Yelzin when they robbed Russia blind. But as the election showed those times are over and Russians will no longer fall for their false promises.

Posted by b on December 6, 2011 at 18:42 UTC | Permalink


Can anyone say U.S./CIA interventionism is doing its duty?

Tom Engelhardt notes that "we've seen "the Rose Revolution" in Georgia, "the Orange Revolution" in Ukraine, and now "the Tulip Revolution" in Kyrgyzstan, all heavily financed and backed by groups funded by or connected to the U.S. government and/or the Bush administration." He then quotes Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times, who writes:

"The whole arsenal of US foundations -- National Endowment for Democracy, International Republic Institute, International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), Eurasia Foundation, Internews, among others -- which fueled opposition movements in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, has also been deployed in Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan]... Practically everything that passes for civil society in Kyrgyzstan is financed by these US foundations, or by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). At least 170 non-governmental organizations charged with development or promotion of democracy have been created or sponsored by the Americans. The US State Department has operated its own independent printing house in Bishkek since 2002 -- which means printing at least 60 different titles, including a bunch of fiery opposition newspapers. USAID invested at least $2 million prior to the Kyrgyz elections -- quite something in a country where the average salary is $30 a month."

See also

Posted by: easy e | Dec 6 2011 19:09 utc | 1

the irony is that the winner in this case would be the communist party and it is them who are going to court about unfairness in the elections

Posted by: somebody | Dec 6 2011 19:49 utc | 2

yes it is Putin or communism :-)

Posted by: somebody | Dec 6 2011 21:04 utc | 3

The western press is little more than sophisticated directed & co-ordinated propaganda and infotainment ...

Ballistic Missile Defense(Enabling 'First Strike'), NATO encirclement/encroachment, the co-ordinated propaganda delegitamization(sic) re the election, Libya now Syria, the artificial inflaming of sectarian conflict to its south, exponentially encouraging and facilitating drugs to undermine society, etc, these are the acts of a 'reset', a 'Partner' ?

These are all hostile policies ... am very surprised Russia has not, at the very least, started 'squeezing' the NDN route, even just a little ...

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 6 2011 22:39 utc | 4

""Western" organizations and media are alleging irregularities in Sunday's elections in Russia"

Well, golly gee willickers! Ain't they got no Supreme Court willing to install a king?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 7 2011 0:50 utc | 5

Surprise! Surprise! Russia is as corrupt as the West. Who woulda thunk?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 7 2011 1:00 utc | 6

And now Gorbachev calls for the elections to be repeated. It can't be more ridiculous. Whatever small credibility he still could hold gone to the drain as another puppet. Of course all his credibility has mostly come from outside Russia.

So, what will be the color for Russia? White?

Posted by: ThePaper | Dec 7 2011 13:40 utc | 7

I have to laugh when the implication is you have to hang your hat on former Stalinist Strongmen to protect you from Western Strongmen. It's a Sucker's Bet. How about no Strongmen? How about Power To The People? Last time I looked, Pope Putin wasn't too interested in participatory democracy or participatory economics, and in that sense, he's in league with his Western Counterparts.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 7 2011 14:05 utc | 8

Gorbachev allies with "West":

Gorbachev told the Interfax news agency that authorities must hold a fresh election or deal with a rising tide of discontent.
"More and more people are starting to believe that the election results are not fair," he told Interfax. "I believe that ignoring public opinion discredits the authorities and destabilises the situation."

Gorbachev added that authorities "must admit that there have been numerous falsifications and ballot stuffing".

Posted by: Martin | Dec 7 2011 14:19 utc | 9

Clinton has called Russian's election "rigged", seems like US cant help poking russia in the eye, now there's no way russian government will back down on the missile shield issue.

Posted by: nikon | Dec 7 2011 14:20 utc | 10

If ballot stuffing, vote buying, arranging districts, preventing voters from voting and all other similar practices were considered 'fraudulent' in the 'democratic' western world there wouldn't be a single non-fraudulent election in the world.

Posted by: ThePaper | Dec 7 2011 15:07 utc | 11

"Clinton has called Russian's election "rigged"......."

Wonder if Bev Harris is following this with a great degree of mirth.

These effin' hypocrites in DC are beyond belief. They deserve to have a Diebold shoved up where the sun don't shine, while the damned thing is plugged into a 220 amp circuit. We could have a citizen's lottery, the winner getting the privilege of being able to hit the "on" switch.

Trouble is, Hillary would probably just light up, smoke, and ask for more. Horns have an astounding tolerance for heat.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 7 2011 15:37 utc | 12

Gorbachev is almost persona non grata in Russia ... only the west gives him any air at all, and hes just reaffirmed why.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 7 2011 16:49 utc | 13

US Caught Meddling in Russian Elections!
Putin compares US funded NGOs to Judas the betrayer

What would Americans say if they found their polling stations and certain political parties entirely infiltrated by Chinese money, Chinese observers, and Chinese-backed candidates promoting China's interests in an AMERICAN election? The answer ranges from incarceration, to trials featuring charges ranging from fraud, to sedition and even treason with sentences ranging from decades to life in prison, perhaps even death, as well as possible military action for what could easily be considered an act of war.

Indeed, the attempted subversion of a foreign nation and/or meddling in its elections are acts of war, an act of war the United States government through its various "Non-Governmental Organizations" (NGOs) have been committing on and off for decades around the globe. In fact, the very "Arab Spring" is a geopolitical conflagration tipped off by this vast network of Western backed NGOs……

Posted by: easy e | Dec 7 2011 18:21 utc | 14

oh come on this is not color revolution stuff, this is different ...

"Were the elections falsified? Independent observers reported many irregularities in Moscow; probably it was even worse elsewhere. It seems that the ruling ER party activists inserted many fake ballots, and probably skewed the results in their favour. A poll made by NGO Golos on the basis of a few polling places with no irregularities showed that the communists won big, while the ER almost collapsed at the polls. On the web, there are claims of massive distortions following the vote count. It is hard to extrapolate from the Moscow results to the whole country, but the Russians believe that the results were falsified. They are also tired of their Teflon rulers."

"It is the right-wing opposition that is more persistent in denouncing the electoral manipulations, though no polls, independent or otherwise, indicate that their parties were successful. Moreover, this opposition is not famous for its love of democracy. Prominent Russian right-wing journalist Ms Julia Latynina has already called for the termination of “the farce of democracy”: the Russian people are too poor, she said, to be allowed the right to vote, as they are likely to vote against their betters. This opinion was published in the best-known opposition paper Novaya Gazeta (owned by oligarch Mr Lebedev, owner of the British Independent). For the Right, this is a chance to attack Putin and his regime.

The right wing is strongly anti-Putin; not so the communists who are ready to work with Putin any time. Can Putin change his spots and become Putin-2, a pro-communist president who will restore the Soviet Union and break the power of the oligarchs? He could certainly adopt some communist rhetoric and use the communist support. Judging by his recent utterances at the Valdai forum, he is likely to turn Russia leftwards, with communists or without.

But stability of his regime is not certain. Putin should act swiftly if he wants to ride the wave of popular feelings, instead of being swept away by it. Armoured vans are the last things he needs."

Posted by: somebody | Dec 7 2011 19:10 utc | 15

probably ... It seems ... probably ... a few ... there are claims ... hard to extrapolate ... but the Russians believe that the results were falsified.

Utter bullshit. There are so many caveats and qualifications to suave the writers conscience, its a joke.

The results closely match pre-polling, the rest is largely propaganda and co-ordinated at that.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 7 2011 19:49 utc | 16

outraged, sure, but anti-Russian propaganda / internal Russian oligarch fight is no colour revolution, especially when the party profiting would be the Communists ...

In the following I think suggestion 2 - all Russian parties rigg - the most likely - and - agree with - the elections are not fair, as Russia today is an oligarchy (like many western countries)

"The inescapable conclusion is that election results in Russia, by and large, mirror public opinion; in all elections but the 2003 Duma elections, the “establishment” party or candidate had garnered fewer votes than was indicated by polls of Russians’ voting intentions a few weeks beforehand.

There are several possibilities for why that is the case. First, we could accept that the Russian electoral process is essentially free and honest (otherwise, far bigger gaps between the results of opinion polls and the ruling party’s election results would have been expected). Second, we can assume that it isn’t free and honest, but that United Russia’s fraud is counterbalanced by fraud on behalf of other parties (this isn’t as absurd as it sounds, as the Communists have also been accused of using “administrative resources” to skew votes in areas under their control). Third, we may posit that the opinion polling organizations themselves are compromised by the Kremlin, churning out results that don’t reflect Russian public opinion.

The third possibility can be dismissed pretty much out of hand. I will remind readers that Lev Gudkov, the current director of the independent Levada Center, writes stuff like this: “Putinism is a system of decentralized use of the institutional instruments of coercion… hijacked by the powers that be for the fulfillment of their private, clan-group interests.” Doesn’t exactly sound like the biggest fan of the regime, right?

Use Occam’s Razor. Russia’s elections might be far from Scandinavian standards, and in a few regions – Ingushetia and Chechnya foremost among them – they are, in fact, blatantly fixed. But they are the exception, not the rule – which is that Russian elections are largely free.

(This is not to say that they are fair, because of unequal TV access to the candidates, restrictions such as the 7% threshold for entry into the Duma, etc.; to varying degrees, all democracies suffer from these or similar factors. To what extent Russia’s elections are unfair relative to other democracies – e.g. the gerrymandered US; first-past-the-post Britain; the thirty or so other democracies without elections of governors, etc – should be the real object of discussion. But engaging in rhetoric about the neo-Soviet Putin dictatorship is far more fun, supports Western foreign policy objectives, and most importantly, sells more copies.)"

how much Russia is a global oligarchy - for example this guy
trying to start the color revolution with a non-existant party :-)) here

who is close to this guy

who hates Putin. So it probably is mainly personal.

Whilst this oligarch who owns the UK independent and Evening Standard thinks Russia without Putin would be worse

Posted by: somebody | Dec 7 2011 22:15 utc | 17

It seems from news reports that Gorbachev has been thoroughly Westernised / Americanised. He's earning his exile stipend by calling foul on the Russian election result and saying it should be annulled and new elections held. Naturally, he spoke with fact-free certainty.

I'll take what Gorby says seriously when he points out that 'free and fair' elections in America means that voters have to choose between right wing candidates who slavishly represent the 1% and have received the ideological stamp of approval from the pro-Israel lobby, the Bankster lobby, the M-IC lobby and the anti-union, Totalitarian Corporatism lobby.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 8 2011 0:07 utc | 18

There is a naive belief among many that elections are about people voting, their votes being counted accurately, and a country's leaders being chosen according to the accurate count.

What does happen is that people go to polling places and vote, somebody announces an alleged set of results, and government being organized based on the announced results. The real sticking point is not whether the announcement fits the alleged "actual" results, but whether most of the populace accepts the announced results as reasonable enough for them to live with. This is not a claim based on cynicism, but some actual experiences associated with counting ballots: there are so many voters in so much real estate with so little time to count that it is logically impossible to get the results right, even without much, if any, funny business. As it turns out, of course, almost every election anywhere will involve some sort of "irregularities" in some form on the election day--but rarely enough to invalidate the results. Even in dictatorship that hold mere show elections--and Russia isn't quite one of these: elections are "fixed" long before the election day, with the governing authorities making appropriate "deals" with relevant societal groups to deliver the votes--and, even then, it is often unclear whether these "deals" are necessarily undemocratic or merely "good politics."

The trouble with Russia is that Putin, whether he is a "democrat" or not, has made enough embittered enemies that they would never accept him or his party as legitimate no matter what (and so many Russians these days don't believe almost anything from Moscow anyways, even if they don't oppose Putin, per se). No amount of "clean" elections will convince enemies of Putin that he really won the election fair and square anyways.

Posted by: hak | Dec 8 2011 1:51 utc | 19


that's why Putin will want to consolidate his power by launching an attack on NATO

Posted by: nikon | Dec 8 2011 1:57 utc | 20

@somebody Lev Gudkov, the current director of the independent Levada Center, writes stuff like this

Levada center is run on U.S. money from the National Endowment for Democracy and other "regime change" U.S. government entities. To call it "independent" is a bad joke.

@nikon - nonsense

Posted by: b | Dec 8 2011 6:50 utc | 21

b that was the writer's point - the opinion polls are actually done by western style observers, so they actually validate election results that same observers doubt.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 8 2011 10:16 utc | 22

and yes, b., independent in that context is the correct word - independent from the Russian administration ...

Posted by: somebody | Dec 8 2011 11:03 utc | 23

Nikon @ 20.
Putin isn't going to launch an attack on US-NATO.
The most reliable way to score a victory over buffoons is to lead them up the garden path and then ambush them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 8 2011 11:29 utc | 24

Just for context:

THE EXILE - Who Killed The OSCE? - By Alexander Zaitchik and Mark Ames - Feature Story

It's the view held by none other than the man who headed the OSCE's 1996 election mission in Russia, Michael Meadowcroft.

"The West let Russia down, and it's a shame," said Meadowcroft, a former British MP and veteran of 48 election-monitoring missions to 35 countries.

In a recent telephone interview with The eXile, Meadowcroft explained how he was pressured by OSCE and EU authorities to ignore serious irregularities in Boris Yeltsin's heavily manipulated 1996 election victory, and how EU officials suppressed a report about the Russian media's near-total subservience to pro-Yeltsin forces.

THE EXILE - Who Killed The OSCE? - By Alexander Zaitchik and Mark Ames - Feature Story

Evidence of fraud, such as entire towns in Chechnya voting overwhelmingly for Yeltsin, caused Meadowcroft to liken the 1996 election to those held in African dictatorships. "In Chechnya they'd been bombed out of existence, and there they were all supposedly voting for Yeltsin. It's like what happens in Cameroon," he said.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Dec 8 2011 13:28 utc | 25

Got is somebody.

On December 2 Xinhua quoted the U.S. financed "independent" Levada center on its election predictions:

MOSCOW, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Latest opinion polls suggested four major parties would remain in Russia's State Duma after elections due on Sunday, Lev Gudkov, director of the independent Yuri Levada Analytical Center, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Many Russians believed the new State Duma, or the lower house of the country's parliament, would be comprised of the same parties as the previous one, said the analyst, citing pre-election opinion polls data.

According to Gudkov's figures, the ruling United Russia Party would receive around 53 percent of the vote, the Communist Party 20 percent, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) 12 percent and the center-left Just Russia Party about 9 percent.

The analyst noted that the Just Russia had in recent weeks demonstrated visible growth and improved its chances to cross the 7-percent threshold to the Duma.

If these numbers were transferred to real mandates, the United Russia could secure 253 seats in the Duma, the Communist would get 94 seats, and the LDPR and the Just Russia would get 59 and 44 seats respectively.

Posted by: b | Dec 8 2011 19:27 utc | 26

In a similar vein, what pisses me off no end is the reporting on Islamist Parties winning the elections, say in Tunisia, with some similar accusations, and emphasis on the Islamist part. Nobody in Europe would trumpet Christians are Triumphant (and paid silver coins to voters or whatnot) when a Christian Democrat Party gets a lot of votes.

Ennahda (Tunisia) is, in order: Nationalist. Nationalist > turned to regions as well, very important. A party of ‘renewal.’ Conservative. And yes, muslim, as religious Tunisians are, well, Muslim. Plus it was repressed - ...

Tunisians in Switzerland voted 35% for Ennahda, with the rest of the votes scattered all over. Tunisians in CH are not Islamists, they are in the CH mainstream, secular, etc.

France, 33% (north) and 30% (south).

Expat votes are very interesting. They always skew to the nationalist, to the mainstream, and, I hazard, they “always” elect the winner or winning parties.

Americans abroad voted for Obama by more than 85%.

A summary of the pre-election polls. Curiously, a quick goog did not turn up the results, ha ha.

CH - 94% (!), Portugal 93%, GB 93%, Australia 92%, Canada 88%. For Obiman. *1

Only the 350 voters in Macedonia and the 40 voters in Albania finally favored McCain.

In fact, the United Russia ‘score’ is extremely bad news for Putin, who is set to become even more paranoid. All this doesn’t mean there wasn’t some rigging etc.

*1 in F:

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 9 2011 16:36 utc | 27

Voting in the US, article about Wisconsin from Think Progress:

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 9 2011 17:05 utc | 28

Voting in the US, article about Wisconsin from Think Progress:

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 9 2011 17:05 utc | 29

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