Media Review

7 march, 2012 13:25

Komsomolskaya Pravda (Moscow): “Vladimir Putin: Clean Up All Violations – So That No Dirt Remains!”

The Prime Minister visited the Election 2012 Situation Centre and learnt that the people were calling Zyuganov the main violator.

Even after the presidential race has finished, the work at the Election 2012 Situation Centre carries on non-stop. There are a variety of displays, graphs and electronic forms for complainants. Hundreds of young lawyers wearing white t-shirts and baseball caps are working here 12 hours a day. The unique centre based in Moscow’s Kutafin Law Academy is open round the clock.

You can monitor each polling station on the centre’s site from anywhere in the world and the organisers are proud to report that international observers no longer have anything to do.

“We file complaints and screen them if they make no sense, or pass the information on to observers at a particular polling station or to the law enforcement agencies. But what we get mostly are not complaints – they’re questions, how to vote by proxy, what you should do if you are not on the electoral register,” says Oleg Polyakov, a lecturer with the Law Faculty of the Moscow Institute for the Humanities and Economics. The young man is in a wheelchair but says that it is not that hard to keep working here 12 hours as the work is much too interesting and vital.

“We’ve been working in test mode since 1 February, and we’ll keep working for another week or so. There are actually very few real complaints (about 2,400 out of 4,500 applications – Editor’s note). Sometimes they’re nothing, just a false alarm. For example, that was the case with the governor of the Bryansk Region who ordered polling stations to be opened an hour earlier,” notes Nadezhda Pastukhova, Director of the Institute of Energy Law, a lady with a blond braid that would make even Ms Tymoshenko green with envy.

Vladimir Putin turned up at the centre and was shown how complaints are received and processed and was also given the preliminary statistics. Thus, 35.7% of all complaints are on violations related to outdoor campaigning, 33.7% are on media campaigning, 9% on pressure from bosses, 1.2% on vote buying, and 1.1% on the law enforcement agencies. 

“Clearly, there were some violations. We need to expose them and clean them up, so that everyone can see it. So that no dirt remains,” the Prime Minister stressed.

There were a number of cases where we were given reports on violations, but when we entered the polling stations online, we couldn’t see any violations,” Yuliana, a student, told the visitor.

Dmitry Shumkov, Head of the non-profit partnership Federal Law System, who showed the Prime Minister around, promised to analyse all the collected data and to send a report to the President-elect.

“In 30 years’ time they will be telling their grandchildren how they helped their country to hold transparent elections,” Shumkov said in praise of these young lawyers and heaped blame onto the Communists, “We allocated special seats for the Communist Party; they had two representatives sitting here who would tut-tut and say that everything was fair and clean but when the elections were over they started crying foul for some reason! And they feel so bitter about it!”

“Mr Zyuganov is uptight,” the Prime Minister said with a slight shake of the head and a passing smile, “Apparently, it’s because of the election results.”

Putin was also shown an interactive map with complaints about each particular candidate. Later, lawyers explained to Komsomolskaya Pravda that the violations mainly related to outdoor campaigning.

“So you can see that Zyuganov is in the lead on 6.1% followed by Zhirinovsky on 5.5%,” Shumkov pointed out. “Next comes Mironov on 5.2%, Prokhorov has 4.2%, and Putin on 4.1% is one tenth of a percent behind the self-nominee.”

“I would like to thank you all for helping make these elections transparent for people to vote and ensure that their votes are reflected fairly,” Putin said in conclusion.

Just as he left, bouquets of yellow tulips appeared in the hall – a present from the Prime Minister to female lawyers on International Women’s Day on 8 March. The box of flowers was greeted with loud applause.

Yelena Chinkova