News of the Day: 22 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Wednesday reported 19,706 new coronavirus cases and 817 deaths.

The Guardian: Russia has endured its worst forest fire season in the country’s modern history, according to recent data from the Russian Forestry Agency analysed by Greenpeace.

The Moscow Times: [President] Biden said “we all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals … whether it’s Chechnya or Cameroon or anywhere” during his UN General Assembly address Tuesday.

The Moscow Times: Russia’s opposition raised questions over the legitimacy of the results of the elections after the pro-Kremlin United Russia party won a landslide victory and took every district in Moscow. E-voting results reversed early leads secured in the offline vote by opposition candidates and Kremlin-endorsed candidates saw huge swings in their favour and won every district after online votes were tallied. 

Human Rights Watch: Apple and Google capitulated to Russian authorities last week when they removed access to the Navalny Smart Voting app on the eve of the weekend’s parliamentary election. The move helped undermine Russian voters’ ability to access information about their choice.

RFE/RL: A group of independent municipal and regional deputies has launched a petition demanding all results from September 17-19 elections across Russia be invalidated due to numerous violations and irregularities in the voting.

RFE/RL: A Russian researcher known for detailed analyses of past elections says fraud was a major factor in the State Duma election victory of the ruling United Russia party. Sergei Shpilkin, who published his analysis on September 21, two days after the Duma election concluded, said that, without vote manipulation, the Kremlin-backed party would have likely received around 31-33 percent of ballots in the party-list voting — not the nearly 50 percent reported by the Central Election Commission.

RFE/RL: An Estonian newspaper is reporting that Russian opposition politician Lyubov Sobol has settled in Estonia with her young daughter after fleeing her homeland this summer following her conviction and sentencing at a Moscow court on charges widely seen as politically motivated.

The Moscow Times: Observers were quick to speculate that the uptick in Covid-19 cases was linked to the authorities’ need to doctor the figures ahead of the vote in order to boost turnout among voters who may have otherwise stayed away from the polls.

RFE/RL: When Apple and Google removed an election app created by jailed Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny from their online stores just as the nation’s three-day parliamentary vote got under way, his associates were dismayed — and criticized the U.S. tech giants for giving in to the Kremlin’s demands.

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