Less than a month before the December 4 elections to the Russian State Duma, the Moscow-based NGO Golos (Vote) says it has registered more than 1,000 violations of election-related laws, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Golos Executive Director Lidiya Shibanova said in a press release on November 8 that violations have been reported in 72 of the Russian Federation's 83 entities.
Shibanova told RFE/RL that the three regions where the most violations were registered are Stavropol Krai, Samara Oblast, and the Republic of Bashkortostan. She also mentioned Astrakhan Oblast and North Caucasus Republics of Russia as regions having many violations.
Almost 50 percent of the reported violations concern the use by local authorities of "administrative resources" on behalf of a specific candidate.
Among the infringements registered in Stavropol Krai, where elections to the regional parliament are also scheduled for December 4, were restrictions on campaigning by the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
Shibanova said Golos has been alerted to far more violations this time than during earlier election campaigns. She attributed the increase partly to the use of the Internet and mobile phones, and partly to heightened dissatisfaction among voters with efforts to predetermine the election outcome.
Moscow Helsinki Committee chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseyeva told RFE/RL that the elections in Russia should be monitored not just on the day of the elections but from the moment political parties are registered at election commissions.
According to Alekseyeva, human rights activists will be involved in monitoring the elections on December 4. She added that human rights activists will not be promoting any of the candidates but will be registering all possible violations in an unbiased manner.
Meanwhile, the Russian Interior Ministry has ascertained that "dozens" of persons with prison records have registered as candidates for the State Duma elections, the Russian daily "Vedomosti" reported today.
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