Monday, December 03, 2007

Democracy loses in Russia

Last week, the Guardian reported that the Kremlin was working hard to rig this weekend's Russian Parliamentary elections, calling government workers in to vote on their day off, and threatening university students, doctors, and bureaucrats that they would fail their exams or lose their jobs if they failed to vote for Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party. Here's one example:

Another in Yekaterinburg wrote: "Today my wife came home in shock. As the boss of a state company she has been told that all her workers living in different parts of town must take absentee ballots and go to vote in Kirovsky district. She has to go and sit all day on December 2 and call round everyone in her collective. Then she has to provide a list of who has voted." She then received a directive warning her to add anybody who didn't vote for United Russia to a list, and later those people would be "called to the office" of the local administration.
Unsurprisingly, preliminary results show United Russia winning a landslide victory, amid reports of arrested opposition activists, multiple voting, and mass fraud. Democracy, it seems, has lost in Russia.