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Statement by the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation

posted 19 Mar 2012, 10:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Mar 2012, 10:19 ]
19 March 2012

Source: Memorial Press release

The Council does not consider the electoral event, which took place on the 4th March 2012, as the Russian Presidential elections and refuses to recognize the legitimacy of its results. 

According to the Paris Declaration of the Inter-Parliamentary Council «On the criteria of free and fair elections», adopted on March 26th, 1994, elections require equal opportunity to become a candidate, equal conditions for campaigning, equal access to the media in order to illustrate candidates’ political views. The document postulates that, during the elections, the State is called to ensure the integrity of the process for counting votes, and should not allow frauds, double-voting or votes of persons who are deprived of voting right. In addition the State has to make certain that those in charge of monitoring the electoral campaign behave impartially.

The electoral event on March 4th, 2012 complied with none of these requirements.

- the Russian legislation built artificial barriers to impede the registration of independent candidates;
- the abuse of official position for propagandistic purposes allowed one of the candidates to outpace the other candidates in terms of media exposure and to organize publications, trips as well as electoral meetings which were not financed by the campaigning fund;
- the executive power pressured electors and the organizers of the elections through State-controlled companies and actively used its administrative resources;
- civil observers repeatedly noticed manipulations with absentee voting certificates, carousel voting, inclusions of companies’ collaborators, who do not live in a certain region, into extra electoral lists;
- massive violations of legal procedures during the process of vote counting and the final scoring were reported.

All this and a series of other gross violations induce the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation to consider that this electoral event did not complied with the requirements of the law, the principles of the Russian Constitution and the generally accepted international standards.

Regretfully, the Human Rights Council has to recognize that the election of the President of the Russian Federation remains an open question and that the declaration of Vladimir Putin’s victory lacks the legal basis required for exercising the presidential functions.

Ludmila Alexeyeva, Chairperson of Moscow Helsinki group
Valery Borshchev, member of Moscow Helsinki group
Yuriy Vdovin, human rights organization «Civil control»
Svetlana Gannushkina, «Civc Assistance» Committee, member of the Board of HRC “Memorial”
Oleg Orlov, Chairman of the Board of Human Rights Center «Memorial»
Lev Ponomarev, CEO of All-Russia Public Movement «For Human Rights»
Liliya Shibanova, Association «For Protection of Electors' Votes «Golos»
Yuriy Shmidt, lawyer, member of Human Rights Council of ST. Petersburg
Piotr Filippov, head of the Independent Center of Studying Corruption Methods Fighting, St. Petersburg
Dmitriy Oreshkin, independen politologist
Michail Shneider, Secretary of the Federal Bureau of «Solidarnost»

March 19, 2012