Experts' discussion: Russia before the election
On 1 March 2018, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) jointly hosted the experts’ discussion “Russia before the presidential elections”.
The event, moderated by EPDE board member Stefanie Schiffer, saw statements by Andrei Buzin and Stanislav Andreichuk, both board members of the Russian movement for protecting voter rights GOLOS, and Sabine Fischer from SWP, among others.
The speakers raised questions about electoral practices in Russia, stating that Russian authorities stopped active falsification of election results in 2011, but instead introduced “administrative electoral technologies” as a successful way of limiting competition and controlling the outcome of any elections. These technologies include limiting the eligibility of candidates, tightening nomination and registration procedures, extending the control over electoral commissions and restricting electoral campaigns. As a result, elections in Russia are now completely predictable, and only serve as a “self-production” of the government.
Another part of the discussion focussed on campaign financing, where apparently most distortions of the electoral process take place. According to Russian law, electoral campaigns must be entirely financed by official campaign funds. However, this system is permanently been bypassed by official candidates, who finance their campaign in a non-transparent and illegal way by diverting funds from state-owned enterprises.