Valery Borshchev: “Everyone agrees that the elections were rigged. It’s clear that the West had absolutely nothing to do with that.”

25 September 2021

A VoA article quoting Valery Borshchev (pictured left)

Source:  Moscow Helsinki Group (original source: Voice of America Russian Service)

Andrei Klimov, head of the interim Commission of the Federation Council on defending sovereignty and preventing interference in the Russian Federation’s internal affairs, declared at a meeting of the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation that even before the start of voting in elections to Russia’s State Duma , there had been “mass calls by foreign individuals and organisations for the non-recognition of the results of the election” as well as “illegal agitation by foreign individuals and organisations registered as foreign agents or involved in extremist activities” and “intentional provocation of illegal activities including incitement of disorder and violations of electoral practice, and preparation of various fabrications to discredit Russia’s elections and their results”.

The State Duma Commission investigating incidences of “outside interference” also sent the General Prosecutor’s office a list of the names of those who, according to the members of the Commission, had carried out this interference.

With some satisfaction, Valentina Matvienko, chair of the Federation Council, said about these two events: “We have arguments for initiating dialogue with our partners abroad – and to present them with corresponding claims so that there are no double standards in their relations with Russia.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s Prosecutor General this week announced an investigation into the activity of the hacker group “Ghostwriter” before the elections to the Bundestag and regional parliaments. According to the prosecutor, the group is linked to Russian special services. 

Subsequent to this, the 27 EU member states published a statement which spoke in part about the possibility of introducing new sanctions against Russia. To be exact: “The European Union will revert to this issue in upcoming meetings and consider taking further steps.”

In return, Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied the accusations against Russia, as is tradition: “Our partners in Germany have not presented any evidence of the Russian Federation’s involvement in these attacks,” said Maria Zakharova, the ministry’s official spokesperson.

When asked by journalists to assess the latest Russian campaign against “foreign interference,” Valery Borshchev, co-chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, observed that it is a virtual tradition for the Russian authorities to blame the Americans for everything.  But this time, in his opinion, they have clearly gone too far.

“The picture they have created is a surreal parody,” the human rights defender said.  “Very few people – even those living deep in the remote countryside – believe that there is foreign interference in the Russian elections.  But they twist their stories.  They even set up special commissions under the Duma and the Federation Council to investigate what isn’t reality.  They create a road and charge down it without turning back, blaming the West for everything.  This is a fallacy that they can’t give up, because they can’t come up with anything new.”

Borshchev believes that this is not such a harmless phenomenon as it might appear at first glance.  “That’s because in society, especially in the regions, the idea is promulgated with manic persistence that everything evil comes from the West, that all America thinks about is how to harm us in every way.  Therefore, they say, elections are no exception.  The idea that we are surrounded by enemies is being drilled into the popular consciousness.  Hence the number of those branded ‘foreign agents’ is increasing, for how could all of this come about without ‘accomplices’?  This is done in order to blame all our troubles on external enemies.  The persecution we are seeing now will continue, and it is quite likely that it will lead to the opening of criminal cases.  They know no limits.”

At the same time, everyone understands the importance of the current elections, including the Communists and representatives of other parties.  “And everyone agrees that the elections were rigged.  It’s clear that the West had absolutely nothing to do with that, and all accusations should be made against the authorities.  The Communists are always ready to accuse what they call ‘the Washington regional committee’ of everything.  But now they are protesting that their votes have been stolen, and they are not pointing the finger at the West.  So this campaign, designed to try to divert attention from Russia’s internal problems, is doomed to failure,” Borshchev concluded.

Translated by Elizabeth Rushton and Elizabeth Teague

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