Provokatsiya: Regime may be preparing stitch-up job on OSCE.
Posted by democratist on March 5, 2012
5th March 2012,
The OSCE has done a thorough, balanced, and above all clearly evidence-based job in its observation of the 2012 Russian Presidential elections. However, despite their efforts at presenting their findings in diplomatic language, by telling the truth about the significant manipulation which has clearly taken place in these elections, they risk unsettling the regime to the point that some excuse will have to be found to discredit them, and ensure that they are not present for any future Russian polls.
In a press statement given this afternoon international observers noted that, “Although candidates in yesterday’s presidential election in the Russian Federation were able to campaign unhindered, conditions were clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants, current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.”
Furthermore, observers made it clear that, there had been problems (often serious) during the counting process at around a third of the polling stations they had visited.
That manipulation of the process was left until the count is hardly surprising. Much was made by the regime of the cameras which had been placed in almost all 94,000 polling stations, enabling the public to observe the vote over the internet, and supposedly deter fraud.
However, it now seems clear that the “workaround” employed by the authorities to surmount this obstacle to the desired result (exaggerated in favour of Putin, probably by about 7-10%) was to reserve the bulk of their manipulation until after the completion of voting. From what the international observers have said, it appears that, once the cameras were safely off (or at the very least since they lacked the resolution to observe the count in any detail), it was “business as usual.”
But in making public their findings, and because the OSCE ODIHR is respected for its professionalism and therefore influential both in the West and among the intelligentsiya within Russia, it seems very likely that the organization now risks a serious counter-reaction from the regime. Given the nature of the current government, and the (so far unpublicized) scrutiny the OSCE have been under from the FSB since they started working in Russia last year, this will probably manifest itself through a tried and tested KGB ploy; the provotatsiya (“Provocation,” “set up” or “stitch-up”).
It is telling that Vladimir Churov, head of the Central Electoral Commision (ex-KGB, and famous for having declared that Putin is “never wrong”) today accused “some” (so far nameless) international observer organizations of espionage: Apparently, Russia is a country where the head of the electoral administration feels that it falls within his remit to make such comments – although quite how remains unclear.
But, given the controversy that the OSCE’s statement is likely to stir up – with opposition demonstration planned both for today and the coming weeks – it will be interesting to see to what extent Churov’s allegations will be picked up by the leadership and what (if any) contrived “evidence” the FSB will have cooked up to prove the observer’s perfidy.
It should be remembered that the OSCE ODIHR were effectively banned from observing the Russian elections in 2007/08 (after their severe criticism of the 2004 polls). This time around, it seems quite possible that they will be kicked out permanently, with all the fanfare that a paranoid espiocracy like Putin’s Russia can muster.