16 March 2012
By Masha Karp
It seemed that after the December parliamentary elections Russian voters and observers were familiar with all kinds of fraud: ballot-box stuffing, “carousels” (when buses took people around from one polling station to another, voting in each one), re-writing of voter counts etc., etc. But the presidential elections of 4th March introduced a new, completely new and original invention, evidence for which is now filling the Russian Internet –“phantom polling stations”.
Observers following elections in Nizhny Novgorod were rather puzzled to see listed on the Electoral Commission website 16 polling stations, in all of which one of the candidates (guess, who?) consistently had from 85% to 96% of the vote. This was all the more bizarre given that the general result of this candidate – V.V. Putin - in Nizhny Novgorod was about 50% (some Precinct Electoral Commissions reported slightly less than 50%, others slightly more). It soon became obvious that just before the elections in the very last days of February the Subject Central Electoral Commission of Nizhny Novgorod region had decided to create a number of additional places for voting. [Read more]