Blogger Robert Coalson of The Power Vertical reports on a valiant young member of the United Russia party of power who ran for a local government post on the party’s ticket, won, and then refused the seat after realizing he only “won” because of shameless fraud by the party in rigging the ballots:
Yesterday, The Power Vertical wrote about the amusing story of 23-year-old Anton Chumachenko, a Unified Russia member in St. Petersburg who announced that he is refusing a seat on a local district council because the results of the election were falsified by local election officials.
The naive young man’s eyes were opened when he saw that the officially published polling station protocols were completely different from the ones he and his staffers had seen in person on election night. Today, RFE/RL’s Russian Service was able to ask Chumachenko a few questions about his surprising decision to go public with information that everyone in Russia knows, but about which few insiders are willing to speak. Here is the interview in full [followed by his open letter exposing the fraud]:
The BBC reports:
The last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has given some of his strongest criticism yet of the politics of modern Russia. He says the United Russia party of the current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, behaves like the old-style Communists. “I criticise United Russia a lot,” said Mr Gorbachev, “I do it directly.” He also said Russia’s judicial system was not properly constitutional and dismissed members of its parliament as not truly independent. “United Russia is a party of bureaucrats,” he said, in an interview with the American news organisation, Associated Press. “It is the worst version of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” Mr Gorbachev was speaking as the countries of Eastern and Central Europe look towards the 20th anniversary this year of the fall of Communism in Europe, as symbolised by the smashing of the Berlin wall.
The BBC correspondent in Moscow, James Rodgers, says that although Mr Gorbachev is respected throughout the world for his role in ending the Cold War, many Russians more readily associate him with the economic hardship that accompanied the end of Communism. Mr Gorbachev himself now says he did not foresee that his policies of openness and reform – “glasnost” and “perestroika” – would lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. “I was a resolute opponent of the break-up,” he said, expressing the hope that one day Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus might again re-join Russia in a political union.
Oleg Kozlovsky’s blog tells us that United Russia recently added the following graphic to the their website, then after an outcry in the Russian blogosphere removed it. Check out the parking lot area in the left middle of the large circle in the center, then click the image or the jump to see it larger. But first, gird your loins, and remember: This is the official party of power in Russia, and this is their official website.
The website of United Russia, party of power