Russian officials may block opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky from being put on the ballot against incumbent Vladimir Putin, claiming “problems with his nomination petitions.” According to officials, approximately one quarter of Yavlinsky’s petition signatures were unacceptable. Denying Yavlinsky a spot on the ballot would further ensure that Putin remain in office, and is further proof of fradulent voting practices in Russia. In December, Russia held its parliamentary elections, in which Putin’s United Russia party won amidst claims of fraud. Last week, a judge in Russia threw out a complaint of vote fraud in the December elections. At least 21 other claims of vote fraud have also been thrown out by Russian judges. What’s a country like Russia to do to ensure fair elections when Putin and his party clearly have power over the courts and the legislature?
Sources: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203735304577168822481368952.html, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203718504577178251606927854.html
This is another example demonstrating that over twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia still has not shed its past. Joseph Stalin once said, “It is not who votes that is important. It is who counts the votes.” Putin has had a strangle-hold on power in Russia for years now, and it does not seem like he will be giving it up any time soon. Russia’s oil wealth and power may make it hard for the global community to put real pressure on Putin’s Russia to change its voting practices. As long as Putin is able to maintain his grip on power, it is certain that he is not going to be leading the charge to voting practices free from fraud. Russia’s Soviet past still lingers, and until it no longer does problems like voter fraud will continue to exist.