Observers Cry Foul Over Putin Victory

Monitors say gov't tampered with polls Kasparov calls 'dirtiest'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2007 7:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Even as Vladimir Putin hailed his party's decisive victory in Russian elections yesterday as a mandate, international elections observers said the polling was neither free nor fair, and complained of government interference. State employees were reportedly ordered to vote for Putin, CNN reports, and Garry Kasparov’s Other Russia party was left off the ballot entirely. “We cannot say there were fair elections,” said one observer.

“More or less, Russia now has moved to a soft version of one-party dictatorship,” Kasparov said. US and UK officials called for an investigation, with the US complaining that intimidation and media control had swayed the election. But a Kremlin spokesman said elections were fair, offering as proof the three- or four-party parliament that resulted.

Alexandra Zhaldybina, 101, signs in papers before voting in a village of Markovo, 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Smolensk, western Russia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election where the only question is whether President Vladimir Putin's party will win merely a strong majority of...
Alexandra Zhaldybina, 101, signs in papers before voting in a village of Markovo, 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Smolensk, western Russia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary...   (Associated Press)
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov casts his ballot sheet at a polling station in Moscow, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election where the only question is whether President Vladimir Putin's party will win merely a strong majority of seats or a crushing share. (AP Photo...
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov casts his ballot sheet at a polling station in Moscow, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election where the only question is whether...   (Associated Press)
Russian President Vladimir Putin casts his ballot at a polling station in Moscow, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election where the only question is whether President Vladimir Putin's party will win merely a strong majority of seats or a crushing share. (AP Photo//RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov,...
Russian President Vladimir Putin casts his ballot at a polling station in Moscow, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election where the only question is whether President Vladimir...   (Associated Press)
Leader of the Other Russia opposition alliance, former chess champion Garry Kasparov  holds his ballot, where all parties are crossed out, at the polling station in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned radical National Bolshevik party stands at right. Russians voted Sunday in a...
Leader of the Other Russia opposition alliance, former chess champion Garry Kasparov holds his ballot, where all parties are crossed out, at the polling station in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007....   (Associated Press)
Central Election Commission chief Vladimir Churov speaks to the media at the commission's headquarters in Moscow, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. President Vladimir Putin's party won more than 60 percent of the vote in Russia's parliamentary election Sunday, exit polls showed, following a Kremlin campaign that relied on a combination of...
Central Election Commission chief Vladimir Churov speaks to the media at the commission's headquarters in Moscow, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. President Vladimir Putin's party won more than 60 percent of the...   (Associated Press)
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