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Reports Of Possible Russian Election Violations Vary Wildly

Officials from the ruling United Russia party say the election should serve as "a model for other countries" in terms of transparency.
Officials from the ruling United Russia party say the election should serve as "a model for other countries" in terms of transparency.
Voting is continuing in Russia's presidential election amid sharply contrasting reports on possible violations and irregularities.

Officials from the ruling United Russia party said the election should serve as "a model for other countries" in terms of transparency.

Georgy Fyodorov, a member of the Kremlin-controlled Public Chamber advisory organ, said the election was better organized than the December legislative polls in terms of technology and procedures.

Police across the country reported no substantial violations.

However, the independent Golos election monitor said some 3,000 violations had been reported.

'Unprecedented Carousel Voting'

Opposition blogger Aleksei Navalny told the independent Dozhd Internet television channel the scale of carousel voting -- where people cast multiple ballots at different polling stations -- was "absolutely unprecedented":

"We know that Moscow Oblast ran out of absentee ballots several days ago," he said."It was impossible to get an absentee ballot in Moscow. All of these absentee ballots were distributed among these brigades, which have been seen in large numbers today."

An RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow Oblast, reported suspected carousel voting in the Moscow suburb of Pushkino.

"Citizens with absentee ballots are being brought en masse to the polling stations," she said. "People are being taken by bus, in an organized fashion, from a gathering point at the VDNKh metro station in Moscow to the polling station at a sporting venue in Pushkino."

Central Election Commission Deputy Chairman Stanislav Vavilov said his agency "has information" that hundreds of reports of election violations had been written in advance of the voting and would be sent to the authorities "in the coming days."

He said those preparing such complaints are not interested in "matters of objectivity or law."

Web Cameras, Hacker Attacks

Following allegations of possible falsification during the December 2011 legislative elections, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the installation of web cameras at all polling stations.

Communications Minister Igor Shchegolev told journalists on March 4 that the monitoring system had experienced several hacker attacks, including some allegedly originating in Japan and the United States, but that monitoring had not been interrupted.

He said that, on average, some 400,000 were watching the channel.

WATCH: Alleged ballot stuffing recorded on a polling-station web camera in Daghestan and posted on YouTube by an Internet activist

State Duma Deputy Vladimir Burmatov, of the ruling United Russia party, said the web-cameras had prevented "99 percent" of possible violations and rejected allegations of carousel voting.

Central Election Commission head Vladimir Churov offered to help the United States and France set up similar systems for their upcoming elections.

Russian news agencies report that there will be 685 accredited election observers, 219 from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

Polls have closed in the Far East and vote counting has begun.

Voter turnout nationally is about 48 percent so far, the Central Election Commission has reported.

With reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS
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