Journalist prosecuted for trying to investigate electoral fraud

posted 31 Oct 2016, 00:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 31 Oct 2016, 00:24 ]
29 September 2016


Denis Korotkov, a journalist for the St. Petersburg publication Fontanka, discovered that “carousels” were being planned at elections in different parts of the city. He tried to expose the fraudsters by playing the role of someone motivated to take part in the abuses by the money offered.

As a result, the journalist himself faces prosecution under administrative law for “illegally obtaining ballots on the day of the elections to the State Duma and the Legislative Assembly for the purpose of voting for another person.”

The journalist has categorically denied being guilty. He stated this during the hearing on the review of administrative materials in district magistrate’s court No. 71, RAPSI reports.

“They gave me four ballot papers. I introduced myself [as a journalist] and tried to return them. But a scandal started and the police arrived,” said Denis Korotkov. The journalist maintains that he prepared a report for publication, on which he is working, that revealed the so-called “carousels” scheme in the election commission’s precinct No. 616. According to him, on the eve of voting day he found out that the different areas of the city were planning “carousels”. Several “activists” suggested to young people on social networks that they could earn extra money by voting at various polling stations.

As Denis Korotkov asserts, he got in touch with these people and they put a sticker in his passport which he showed at his local polling station, No. 616.

During the trial, the head of the polling station No. 616 was also questioned, who admitted that a ballot paper had been issued to someone with another name. But according to her it had been a "mistake". 

The next court hearing will be held on 20 October, when the police officer who drew up the initial official report of the alleged offence by the journalist Denis Korotkov at the scene will be questioned.

The judge at the same magistrate’s court on Wednesday began its consideration of the administrative case against Natalia Mashina – on the issuing of ballot papers by an election official to a person with a different name.

According to the police, it was Mashina who issued several ballot papers to the Fontanka journalist. It turned out that Mashina is a citizen of another state and not a polling station commission employee. And she allegedly gave out the ballot papers "because a friend – the secretary of polling station No. 616 – asked her to." 

Translated by Kate Goodby