CCTV footage from a Russian polling station in a Moscow suburb shows “ballot rigging” in the presidential election by officials, as Vladimir Putin secured his biggest ever victory Sunday.
In a video clip, polling station officials appeared to stash voting slips into ballot boxes and block a CCTV camera with balloons, while in another a Mother Superior appears to check the votes cast by her order. The video clips, reportedly taken from inside a polling center in Lyubertsy, shows the election officials stuffing a stash of pre-completed voting slips into a ballot box.
The videos emerged as Putin comfortably extended his rule over Russia for another six years, winning 76.67 percent of the vote — his highest victory ever.
The Central Election Commission stated communist Pavel Grudinin came in a distant second with 11.78 percent. And, in the third place was ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 5.66 percent. Ksenia Sobchak, television star and the only candidate to have publicly criticized Putin during the campaign, secured just 1.68 percent.
Putin’s arch rival and opposition leader Alexei Navalny was prohibited from the race. During a victory speech outside the Kremlin, Putin promised to put national interests first and dismissed accusation of involvement in the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom, calling it “nonsense.”
“It’s very important to maintain this unity. We will think about the future of our great Motherland,” Putin said, before leading the crowd in repeated chants of “Russia!”
Runner-up Grudinin said the presidential election was “the dirtiest” since the Soviet Union collapsed.
He added: “Regretfully, Navalny was right. One can vote two or three times, and there are such examples in Moscow region.”
The allegations of rigging and ballot stuffing came amid claims of other dishonest practices during the presidential election in Russia, which include allegations that officials bribed the public to visit polling stations.
In the Khabarovsk region in southeastern Russia, officials reportedly delivered supplies of eggs, tinned peas and frozen pike to several polling stations and offered discount prices on these products for people who cast their vote.