I’m sure most of you have heard about irregularities in the recent Russian Presidential elections. Below is a personal account, with video evidence, from Demid Tishin, a personal friend and a well-known and respected business owner within the Russian translation industry.
Demid was asked to leave the polling station based on a fake letter from his candidate rescinding his authority.
Незаконное удаление наблюдателей УИК 885 по Самарской области во время выборов президента 4 марта 2012
“I was delegated by candidate Mikhail Prokhorov to Polling Station Commission No.885 in Samara Region as a monitor (non-voting member of the electoral commission). Worked all day 04 March 2012 from 07:30 till 20:00, followed monitor’s procedures, but always tried to be diplomatic and friendly, nearly 5 hours spent outside the polling station – we visited disabled people so they could vote.
During the day I didn’t notice any serious violations of laws or procedures, though there were some minor points (those I didn’t announce not to irritate Aleksey Fisenko, the commission chairman). I was the only monitor to receive 2 verbal warnings for speaking too loud (even though all monitors were chatting with one another, and some even answered mobile calls in the room).
At 20:00 sharp, after the infamous web cameras had been switched off, the commission chairman entered the polling room, called me and one other monitor to his desk, quickly showed fake letters from the regional headquarters of Mikhail Prokhorov and Gennady Zyuganov, which stated that our “authority had been revoked”. Consequently, we “had no rights to stay at the polling station” and had to leave immediately. I asked to have a copy of the letter, and was turned down, then I was not allowed to take a phone call to the Prokhorov headquarters to officially check if the letter was genuine. I managed to start recording, there is a messy part of the video in the middle of the recording when I’m putting on the coat holding the camera in hand, sorry for that). One of the policemen tried to take the camera and switch it off (you can see that in the video), but I won When I asked to show me the letter again, I was turned down again. One of the policemen refused to give his name, and said it only at the door, when asked several times. We were finally forced out of the polling station. There were at least 6 other monitors present at the station, and they all kept silent.
When outside we met 2 other monitors (from a different polling station) who had been thrown out the same way just before us. At the Prokhorov’s headquarters dozens of people were arriving with similar stories. The letter that had “revoked the authority” was forgery.
The guard at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Samara City told us the Prosecutor-on-Duty is absent (though his windows were brightly lit), but about 20 Prokhorov’s monitors including me managed to hand official protests to the Prosecutor-on-Duty of the Samara Region (around 23:00). I also informed the district electoral commission and the police (asked to come in person and explain the case, which was obviously dangerous), and called the toll-free number for monitor’s complaints. Around 00:30 came home, down and completely worn out.
Official results at the polling station: Putin 69.96%.
My personal estimate, verified by data from polling station where commission chairpersons resisted the pressure from their bosses and obeyed the law: 45-55%.
I remember one disabled old man who asked me to take a picture of him when he was depositing a voting paper in the ballot-box.
I remember people coming to vote with their children.
I remember the face of an old woman with a cane who barely walked, and made her way to the polling station.
Please forgive me – I could not protect your rights.
You have been used as toilet paper, and I did not stop it.
I promise I will do all that I can to put an end to it.”