Vladimir Putin’s critics cry foul over alleged voter fraud in Russian election
Photo: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
Two women hover over a ballot box in the industrial Russian city of Cherepovets, stuffing in ballot after ballot. On the streets of Moscow, an independent election monitor armed with an iPhone trails a van full of "carousel" voters – people bussed from polling site to polling site in order to cast multiple votes for Vladimir Putin.
Three months after Moscow exploded in a storm of fury over allegedly widespread electoral fraud during the country’s parliamentary vote, Russians went to the polls to vote against or, mostly, for Vladimir Putin in his quest to return to the presidency.
Putin quickly claimed victory, waiting until just over 20% of votes were counted, but his opponents just as quickly cried foul, armed with reels of evidence of alleged fraud. They uploaded them by the thousands to their Twitter accounts and LiveJournal blogs, helping the indignation go viral.
"Russia has no legitimate government or legitimate president," opposition leader Alexey Navalny said, addressing press and supporters at a makeshift headquarters at a central Moscow cafe. "He who has declared himself president is a usurper."
The tension on the streets was palpable. Interior ministry troops, backed by army trucks, arrest vans and bomb sappers, flooded central Moscow. They stood, camouflaged, with their backs to the Kremlin, guarding its residents against some unknown threat.
Outside, democracy ŕ la russe was being carried out in polling sites around the country. Millions turned up at ballot boxes set up in schools, academies and even grocery shops to fulfil their civic duty, despite the widespread belief that the result had been decided for them.
Nadezhda Dvornikova, a 57-year-old pensioner, held her grandson by the hand as she walked the halls of Moscow’s Polytechnical College. "I voted for Putin," she said quietly. "I trust him." When asked if she thought her vote would make a difference, she said: "No, I don’t trust the results." Then why vote? "We were raised that way."
Though "democracy" came to Russia only 20 years ago, elections were a regular feature of the Soviet system. There was no choice and no surprise, but Soviet citizens turned out again and again to cast a formal vote for a decision that was out of their hands.
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief 2015-05-23 7:58
The BBC has reached a â€śprovisional findingâ€ť to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a â€śsoftâ€ť interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montagueâ€™s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech" 2015-05-23 7:31 The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers 2015-05-23 7:36
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction 2015-05-23 7:13
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified' 2015-05-23 6:43
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...