Saturday, December 01, 2007

Former Putin Advisor Slams Russian Election as Fraud

Dec 1, 2007 07:00 Africa/Lagos

Former Putin Advisor Slams Russian Election as Fraud

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Andrei Illarionov, Cato Institute Senior Fellow and former advisor to Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, comments on the upcoming Russian poll:

"The Russian parliamentary election that is scheduled on December 2, 2007 became illegal and unlawful even before its official start. It meets none of the criteria of a free, fair, and democratic election. In effect it is not even an election. Over the last several years the Russian authorities have undertaken many changes in the electoral law that made electoral rules effectively undemocratic and participation in the election for a real political opposition party next to impossible. But even these undemocratic laws and rules have been severely violated over last several months. The number and severity of violations of the electoral laws and of world-wide accepted electoral practices exceeds all imagination. They have turned this election into a special operation conducted jointly by secret police and criminal groups forming the core of the current Russian political regime with its main aim of legitimizing itself in the eyes of the outside world.

"Among the many violations and abusive practices are: About a dozen Russian political parties have been denied registration by the Electoral commission. Those parties that have been able to register, with the exception of the United Russia party headed by the Russia's president Vladimir Putin, have had effectively no access to the national mass-media. All government resources and government-controlled organizations and companies have been used for the support of the United Russia party. Employees of other organizations and companies are being forced, under threat of being fired, to vote for United Russia at their offices, schools, hospitals and/or provide photo confirmation of their vote for the party of the 'national leader.' In a crude violation of the law, tradition and morale, the Russian president has many times used public speeches, public resources and the national media to promote the vote for United Russia.

"Brutal tactics by the police force and storm-trooper organizations have been used to suppress dissent and political opposition. Millions of copies of literature from opposition parties have been confiscated and destroyed. There was a massive campaign to harass, beat, and terrorize members of the political opposition. As a result, hundreds of opposition activists have been detained, dozens have been arrested, including former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. After President Putin's public calls against 'enemies,' there have appeared many signs of preparations to repress political opposition, including a campaign of 'purges' scheduled from December 3 to 6.

"The number of international observers has been drastically reduced. In the last twist of mockery, even the Central Electoral Commission, though largely pro-Putin, is not to be allowed to participate in the process of vote-counting. It will be done by the 'special working group' consisting exclusively of members of the United Russia party. The Russian regime has made necessary preparations for mass falsification and fraud during the poll.

"In light of these events, I call all democratic governments of the world, international organizations, mass-media, and individuals in all countries: Do not recognize results of this falsified, unlawful and illegal operation organized by the criminal regime under the name of the parliamentary election."

The Cato Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research foundation dedicated to broadening policy debate consistent with the traditional American principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

Source: Cato Institute

CONTACT: Laura Osio, media relations manager of Cato Institute,

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Investors and politicians said Putin has unveiled a plan that suggested he would be the real power behind the Kremlin after 2008 while a new president would take a secondary role. Critics see the move as a return to the power structures of the Soviet Union.

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