Quote for the Week. Amnesty International: ‘These relentless attacks on human rights in Russia demand urgent action.’

Week-ending 24 September 2021

“These relentless attacks on human rights in Russia demand urgent action. There must be comprehensive reforms of the country’s legislation to meet its obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights. As a first step, the Duma should revise laws concerning the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, including the Code of Administrative Offences and the Criminal Code. It must be ready to reject any further attempts to curtail human rights. Newly re-elected deputies who have previously voted for repressive bills, must seize this opportunity to reverse the damage done to human rights in Russia.”

-Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director.


‘Russia: To protect human rights, newly elected MPs must repeal repressive laws,’ Amnesty International, 20 September 2021

Other related news:

The Moscow Times, 18 September 2021: 21.30 Responding to reports of election fraud and ballot stuffing, CEC deputy head Nikolai Bulayev told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency there were “no violations that would affect the result of the vote.” 20.00 Polls have closed on the second day of Russia’s parliamentary elections. Turnout stands at 31.5%, the Central Election Commission said Saturday evening. Among those who registered in advance to vote online, turnout is above 70%.  19.30 Despite Russian officials attempts to restrict access to video cameras in polling stations, footage continues to emerge of apparent ballot stuffing, such as a video from Kemerovo, shared by the liberal Yabloko party, showing what appears to be a hand reaching from behind a Russian flag to add ballot slips to the collection box while an election official tries to obscure the camera’s view.

RFE/RL, 18 September 2021: Popular messaging app Telegram has suspended all chat bots used in the Russian elections campaign, in another blow to jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Smart Voting initiative after Apple and Google removed the election-guide app from their stores.

RFE/RL, 18 September 2021, 18 September 2021: Even though the Russian authorities no longer allow the public to see the live video feeds from polling stations as the country votes, many videos from polling stations across the country have emerged that seem to show flagrant ballot-box stuffing.

RFE/RL, 18 September 2021: Allegations of widespread election fraud marred the second of three days of Russia’s polls on September 18 as jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Smart Voting bot disappeared from the popular messaging app Telegram following similar moves by Apple and Google.

RFE/RL, 18 September 2021: Russia has never held a post-Soviet election that met recognized democratic standards. But that does not mean that the fraud has been evenly spread across the country.

RFE/RL, 19 September 2021: Russians vote on September 19 in the final day of three-day parliamentary elections marred by allegations of widespread irregularities and a fresh crackdown on jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s movement.

The Moscow Times, 19 September 2021: According to the Central Election Commission, nationwide turnout for in-person voting is at 31.51% as of the end of Saturday.

RFE/RL, 19 September 2021: In addition to the mass mobilization of state-sector workers, as well as strong indications of ballot-box stuffing and so-called carousel voting — when a single person cast ballots at several stations — Russian monitors say that home voting is also likely being used to skew the results of the voting for the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament house, and local legislatures and posts.

The Guardian, 20 September 2021: Russia’s ruling United Russia party, which supports the president, Vladimir Putin, appears poised to maintain a constitutional majority in Russia’s state parliament, mysteriously outperforming its sluggish polling numbers in an election marred by accusations of vote rigging.

The Moscow Times, 20 September 2021: President Vladimir Putin’s party United Russia claimed a landslide victory in parliamentary and regional elections that have been marred by claims of widespread voter fraud after an unprecedented crackdown on monitors and opposition candidates.

RFE/RL, 20 September 2021: A candidate running in a local election in St. Petersburg who faced two challengers with the same name in what was an apparent attempt to confuse voters and siphon off support has lost as have the other two.

The Moscow Times, 20 September 2021: Russia’s Communist Party will not recognize electronic voting results which reversed its candidates’ strong leads in the country’s parliamentary elections held over the weekend, a party official said Monday. 

The Moscow Times, 20 September 2021: Russia’s opposition called for protests on Monday after accusing the authorities of rigging highly anticipated elections to the country’s parliament.

RFE/RL, 20 September 2021: The Kremlin-appointed governor of Khabarovsk won the election to head the Far Eastern region, more than a year after the arrest of his popular predecessor triggered protests. Mikhail Degtyaryov received 57 percent of the vote in a whittled down field of contenders in the September 17-19 election, according to preliminary numbers from the Central Election Commission.

RFE/RL, 20 September 2021: Late on September 19, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin headlined an election victory rally for the ruling United Russia party, which was poised to maintain its two-thirds constitutional majority in the State Duma following elections marred by unprecedented repressions and stunning accusations of fraud.

RFE/RL, 20 September 2021: Here’s the first thing you need to know about the now-concluded election campaign for Russia’s State Duma: It’s been carefully managed from the start, with the opposition largely barred from running and a crackdown on government opponents that shows no sign of abating.

RFE/RL, 20 September 2021: The video appears to show a major police operation to expose a troll farm churning out fake reports of violations in Russia’s three-day legislative elections, which concluded on September 19 with a resounding victory for ruling party United Russia amid mounting claims of fraud. […] The problem is that the clip may have been exactly what Andreyev denied it was: a fabrication. On September 19, the BBC’s Russian service reported that two of the people featured in the video were actors paid to take part in a staged performance.

The Moscow Times, 20 September 2021: The U.S. State Department cast doubt Monday on the integrity of Russia’s parliamentary election, saying a government crackdown on critics had “prevented” citizens from exercising their civil rights.

RFE/RL, 21 September 2021: Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has accused the Kremlin of using “intimidation and repression” to steal parliamentary elections that saw the ruling United Russia party retain its constitutional majority amid widespread reports of voting irregularities and ballot tampering.

RFE/RL, 21 September 2021: Full preliminary results released by the Central Election Commission on September 20 showed that United Russia, the political party tied at the hip to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin, retained its supermajority in the Duma and was set to hold 324 of the chamber’s 450 seats.

RFE/RL, 21 September 2021: Half of all the votes cast for the ruling party in Russia’s parliamentary elections were likely fraudulent, according to analysis by independent statisticians.

The Moscow Times, 21 September 2021: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Tuesday that a fight for a democratic Russia was a long game after the opposition accused authorities of voter fraud during parliamentary polls.

The Moscow Times, 21 September 2021: Members of Russia’s Communist Party gathered in the pouring rain in central Moscow on Monday evening after parliamentary election results showed their candidates seeing their initial strong leads reverse.

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, 21 September 2021: The Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is dismayed at the continuous degradation of the electoral process in Russia, as well as numerous cases of violations at the elections of various levels held on 17-19 September 2021. We demand from the Russian authorities and the Central Election Commission (CEC) to investigate all cases of the protocolled violations and to come back to the practice of real democratic elections.

Civil Rights Defenders, 21 September 2021: On 17-19 September, Russians headed to the polls to elect representatives to the Russian Parliament. The election, however, was tainted by the Russian government’s systematic oppression of the country’s civil society, independent media and political opposition. With multiple political opponents detained, prosecuted or forced to leave the country, the pro-Putin party United Russia is on course to retain its two-thirds majority in the parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma. 

The Moscow Times, 22 September 2021: 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, 22 September 2021: 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, 22 September 2021: 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, 22 September 2021: 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, 22 September 2021: 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.

RFE/RL, 23 September 2021: A Russian court has rejected jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s appeal to annul his designation as a “flight risk,” which subjects him to hourly nighttime checks while he is incarcerated.

The Moscow Times, 23 September 2021: Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused Google and Apple Thursday of acting as the Kremlin’s “accomplices” after the companies removed his voting app during the country’s parliamentary election last week.

The Moscow Times, 23 September 2021: A group of Russian parliamentary candidates said Thursday they are uniting to abolish electronic voting and called for nationwide rallies to protest the results of last weekend’s elections.

The Moscow Times, 23 September 2021: Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of southern Russia’s republic of Chechnya, will extend his 14-year rule over the conservative Muslim-majority region after sweeping the ballot with 99.7% of the votes.

The Moscow Times, 23 September 2021: Moscow election officials on Thursday said they found no evidence of wrongdoing in online voting in parliamentary elections after a technical recount of the votes.

RFE/RL, 23 September 2021: The United States’ mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has criticized Russia’s recent national elections as taking place under conditions “not conducive to free or fair” voting and called Moscow’s claims of outside interference as “baseless allegations” to distract from a flawed process.

The Moscow Times, 24 September 2021: The ruling, pro-Putin United Russia party kept its supermajority in the lower house of parliament despite critics claiming mass fraud and tampering during the three-day election, according to final results announced by election officials Friday.

RFE/RL, 24 September 2021: Russia’s Central Election Commission has validated the results of last week’s State Duma elections in the face of opposition allegations of irregularities in favor of the Kremlin-backed ruling United Russia party.

RFE/RL, 24 September 2021: Moscow police and city officials have warned the Communist Party against following through with calls for a gathering in the Russian capital on September 25 to protest the results of last weekend’s elections. Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, has also ordered the publishers of the party’s website to delete references to such an event, according to two Communist candidates. […] Reports quote city officials as saying gatherings violate anti-pandemic restrictions.

The Moscow Times, 24 September 2021: The European Union on Friday condemned alleged Russian cyberattacks that have targeted Germany in the run-up to this weekend’s election for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor. 

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