This report finds that a number of election commissions organizing the elections are arbitrary and biased when it comes to governing the campaign activities of election participants. The election commissions show favor and indulgence towards the administrative ruling party candidates, and prejudice towards the opposition representatives.
Use of administrative resources has long been an integral part of the Russian election process. Those endowed with administrative authority use their official positions to benefit some candidates and parties, while putting pressure on the others.
There are numerous instances of officials on duty campaigning in support of certain candidates and parties, and of ceremonial activities performed by administrative candidates under the pretext of executing their professional duties, as well as instances of using budget funds and other public resources for election campaigning purposes, and putting pressure on the administratively dependent voters.
In the case of the abuse of power resources, we are talking about politically motivated and biased actions of the judicial and law enforcement system against certain candidates, even against entire electoral associations (party members, staff election headquarters, etc.). Unfortunately, there were reports of such incidents occurring during the current elections.
With the approach of Election Day, there is predictably an increase in cases of hindrance of lawful election campaigning activities of certain candidates and parties. As a rule, the targets are opposition parties and candidates who are perceived to be serious competitors to the authorities. Unfortunately, in these situations the police is often sluggish or simply does nothing, despite the fact that these incidents are often severe and even criminal in nature, such as threats made on the lives and wellbeing of campaign participants and employees of election headquarters.
Also reported are cases of obstruction of public campaign events—actions which are instigated by the authorities, occur in agreement with them, and with the assistance of state and municipal institutions and enterprises.
There were reported offenses related to the lack of output data on the campaign materials, improper placement of election campaign information, involvement of children in election campaigning, and vote buying. As a rule, a wide variety of election participants are involved in electoral law violations of this kind.
In the campaign stage of the elections, there are markedly more cases of hidden campaigning and voter recruitment: under the guise of informing the public about the candidates’ professional performances, administrative candidates engage in pre-election campaigning. There are also instances of negative campaigning when distributed materials have a clearly negative slant.
See the full report here: PDF (EN)