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Illusive/Elusive Democracy

Former Duma-member-turned-liberal Vladimir Rhyzkhov is absolutely scathing about the weekend’s election violations in today’s Moscow Times.  A number of commentators today note that United Russia’s attempts to sway the vote with fake ballots actually indicate that it is losing its grip on the illusion of democratic power, and that more and more voters are withdrawing their support. 
This was essentially the dress rehearsal for State Duma elections in December. It showed that the country’s corrupt ruling bureaucracy — with United Russia playing the role of the bureaucracy’s party of power — will use every dishonest and illegal trick in the book to preserve its monopoly on power. Golos, an independent election watchdog, recorded violations in practically all 12 of the regions that voted for regional legislatures, in the elections of 10 regional capitals and in voting for municipal offices in many regions.

[…] it was a foregone conclusion that United Russia would win in Sunday’s vote. But what is most interesting is that even these once tried and true manipulations aren’t working as well as they used to. In seven of the 12 regions in which legislative elections were held Sunday, United Russia got most, but not the majority, of the votes.  In the Kirov region, for example, United Russia got less than 40 percent of the vote, a record low.

This means that United Russia has to think up new and more devious tricks to deceive voters and manipulate the vote. This is the only option available. If United Russia had to rely exclusively on its track record and “political and economic platform” in a free and fair campaign, it would never win a single election.