Russian communists allege widespread rigging in legislative elections

Leftist sections alleged blatant manipulation of the electronic voting system, following last-minute victories for candidates from the incumbent United Russia party in most of the parliamentary constituencies falling in the city of Moscow

September 22, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Russian elections
From the protest at Pushkin Square, Moscow. (Photo: via Left Front)

The Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF) has alleged widespread rigging in the legislative elections held on September 17-19, 2021. The party alleged rigging in Moscow city and other parts of the country. Following the declaration of the results on Monday, September 20, the Moscow committee of the CPRF and the Left Front organized a massive protest demonstration at Pushkin Square in Moscow. Protesters alleged that there was blatant manipulation in the electronic voting system, with unconvincing last-minute victories for candidates from the incumbent United Russia party in most of the parliamentary constituencies falling in the city of Moscow. The protesters refused to recognize the votes through the Remote Electronic Voting (DEG) in the 15 single-mandate constituencies in Moscow, and demanded an investigation into the allegations of rigging. The 2021 elections to the 450-seated Russian state Duma also marked a decline in support for the pro-Vladimir Putin United Russia party.

According to the final results, United Russia managed to win 324 seats, losing 19 seats and over 5% votes compared to the previous polls. On the other hand, despite reports of widespread rigging and suppression of popular candidates like Pavel Grudinin, the CPRF saw a significant increase in its support base across the country, especially in the Russian Far East, and improved its tally from 42 to 57 seats. The social-democratic A Just Russia For Truth, right-wing Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and center-right New People party won 27, 21, and 13 seats, respectively. 

According to reports, CPRF and its ally Left Front were leading in six out of the 15 single-mandate constituencies in Moscow city, with an overall lead (29.67%) over United Russia (29.12%) in total votes till the last minute release of the electronic vote count by the Central Electoral Commission. Following this, United Russia’s vote share drastically increased to 36.97% amid allegations that the results were ‘fixed’ in favor of United Russia’s candidates in most of the Moscow constituencies. 

Among the reasons for the decline in support for United Russia are controversial constitutional reforms, flawed strategies to contain the COVID-19 crisis, popular disenchantment over institutional fraud, corruption, nepotism, state repression, and anti-worker policies. 

CPRF general secretary Gennady Zyuganov told the media that “we do not recognize the results of the remote electronic voting (DEG), we will ask together with experts to investigate all these facts, because this is unacceptable, especially since it is done directly in Moscow, the capital of our state.”

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