A report released by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 12 January 2012 said that, although December’s Russian State Duma elections were technically well-administered, the contest was marked by the convergence of the state and the governing party.
Citing concerns over the roles played by state authorities and the media, as well as the narrowing of political competition resulting from the denial of registration to certain political parties, the final report of the ODIHR Election Observation Mission describes the contest as “slanted in favour of the ruling party.”
“This was evidenced by the lack of independence of the election administration, the partiality of most media, and the undue interference of state authorities at different levels,” the report says. “OSCE/ODIHR observers noted unequal treatment of contestants by the election administration, local authorities and service providers in favour of the governing party.”
The report also states that voting procedures observed were followed overall during voting, but that the count was characterized by frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulation, including several serious indications of ballot-box stuffing.
It also notes that, after the announcement of the official results on 9 December, a number of mass demonstrations took place across the country, linked to the widely publicized allegations of election-day fraud.
ODIHR has been invited by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation to observe the 4 March 2012 Russian Presidential Election, and the Office will deploy an Election Observation Mission later in January, to be headquartered in Moscow.