Early Election Returns and Predictions

December 4, 2011

My host mother voted, although she was sure to emphasize that she had little faith her (or anyone’s) ability to make a difference in the election results. When asked about her vote for an exit poll, she did not answer, saying that if she didn’t know where this man was from, it was unsafe to tell him. She told me emphatically that she certainly didn’t vote for United Russia.

News coming out throughout this election day and soon after the polls closed is downright disheartening on the one hand, and surprisingly hopeful on the other. The tales of hacks on the websites of key election observers and rendering useless hotlines for the reporting of election fraud are only further testament to a democratic farce. Widespread election irregularities, include ballot-stuffing, bullying and bribery have been reported both in Moscow and across the country. Even before the elections, accusations (just, based on my observations) were rife concerning the ridiculous advantage given United Russia by loads of free air time and free press, advantages certainly not enjoyed by any of the opposition parties.

Surprisingly hopeful is the news that despite all of these irregularities, many of which would have aided United Russia, United Russia has lost a large number of seats, and possibly even their majority in Parliament. While predictions abounded that general discontent with both Putin and his party of “crooks and thieves,” (or was that swindlers?), would lead to a large decrease in United Russia’s seats. The loss of a majority, however, would be a serious blow, to both United Russia, and Vladimir Putin, who is facing presidential elections on March 4. No one, however, is predicting anything other than a Putin victory in three months.

Whatever my gripes about the failings, inequalities, and shortcomings of the American electoral system (the electoral college, gerrymandering, winner takes all, the impossibility of a viable third party – you name it), I must stop and give thanks that we at least have free and fair elections. As my host mother stated, that is a part of democracy Russians are still waiting to experience.

Feel free to check out these articles – more to come as returns are made official!

Russians Vote in National Parliamentary Elections

Putin Suffers Blow in National Parliamentary Elections

Until the results are made final,

Hillary

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