Oleg Shein continues his hunger strike in protest of what he claims is election fraud. Mr. Shein, who has lost 26 lbs since March 16, lost the mayoral election in Astrakhan on March 4, when the United Russia party defeated him and also won the Russian presidency.
Mr. Shein and the head of the central electoral commission reviewed hours of video from 42 of the 203 polling centers. Mr. Shein claims that the videos support his allegations that “election officers counted ballots without even looking at them and, in some cases, they failed to show processed ballots to independent monitors.” The electoral commission said that there are no grounds for reviewing the Astrakhan result, stating “thanks to the full and uninterrupted video recording, everybody can see that the procedural irregularities that took place at some polling stations in the city of Astrakhan could not have affected the outcome of the vote.”
If democracy is aspired to in Russia then the polling review should be open and transparent. Nevertheless, how far is Mr. Shein willing to go with his hunger strike? He has already lost 26 pounds in one month and required a glucose injection because of feeling ill while viewing the videos. Is he willing to die for this cause? Is this hunger strike the most effective way for him to carry his message forward?
See Russia Elections: Candidate to Continue Hunger Strike, BBC News Europe, (April 17, 2012), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17739944.