Russia’s election countdown: ‘No one untouchable’ on violations?


The head of Russia ‘s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said that an interdepartmental working group is being set up to quickly react to election violations, the Moscow Times reports:

The working group will include representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee, Pamfilova [right] said ….. The group will arrange immediate visits to regions where serious violation are reported, according to Pamfilova. The violations can be reported through hotlines, she said. If violations are detected, Pamfilova didn’t exclude the initiation of criminal proceedings.

“No one is untouchable for us,” she was quoted as saying by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily.

Crimean Tatars Face Russian Crackdown

Since Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in early 2014, there have been frequent reports of detentions, disappearances and mass arrests of Crimean Tatars, Fatima Tlisova writes for VOA:

Russian security officials insist all the measures are aimed at preventing terrorist activities. Rights groups disagree, saying that Russia is accusing the Crimean Tatars of being Islamic extremists because the small ethnic group has never accepted Russia’s claim over their ancestral homeland.

“The crackdown on dissent in Crimea continues to deepen, as the few remaining independent journalists and other critical voices are methodically targeted,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said in April. “As a result, virtually all forms of Tatar political expression and organization have effectively been criminalized.”

Two Russian bridges, one in St. Petersburg and the other in Moscow, are at the heart of passionate eponymic disputes between authorities and residents, Claire Bigg writes for RFE/RL:

In St. Petersburg, a decision by local officials to name a new bridge after the father of Ramzan Kadyrov, the former warlord who has ruled Chechnya with an iron fist for almost a decade, has sparked outrage among residents of the northern Russian city….An online petition has already gathered more than 74,000 signatures.

A group of St. Petersburg residents has launched a campaign to name the bridge instead after Anna Akhmatova, one of Russia’s best-loved poets. Unlike Akhmad Kadyrov, Anna Akhmatova [right] spent most of her life and died in St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad.

Her first husband, poet Nikolai Gumilyov, was executed by the Soviet secret police in 1921. Her son spent many years in the gulag and her common-law husband, art scholar Nikolai Punin, died in the gulag in 1953. The activists filmed themselves declaiming poems written by Akhmatova in front of the unnamed bridge and called on others to do the same [above].

Russia’s Election Countdown

On September 18, 2016, Russia will hold a parliamentary election—the seventh since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Atlantic Council adds:

After March 2000, not a single nationwide vote in Russia was assessed by international observers as “free and fair.” The last Duma elections in 2011 were marred by allegations of widespread fraud and prompted the largest street protests under Vladimir Putin’s rule.

As the vote nears, the authorities are imposing new restrictions on observers and journalists, while the state-run media engages in a smear campaign against Kremlin critics. Russia’s pro-democracy opposition, meanwhile, has decided against a boycott and is preparing to nominate its candidates for the State Duma and regional legislatures. The following panel will discuss the prospects for Russia’s 2016 parliamentary vote, the opposition’s plans, and the international community’s role in holding the Russian government to its Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe commitments on free and fair elections.

A conversation with:
Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza
National Coordinator
Open Russia
Deputy Leader
People’s Freedom Party

Mr. Pavel Khodorkovsky
Institute of Modern Russia

Mr. Steven Lee Myers
The New York Times

Dr. Miriam Lanskoy
Senior Director, Russia and Eurasia
National Endowment for Democracy

Moderated by:
Ambassador John Herbst
Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council

June 9, 2016 – 4:00 pm

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW
Washington, DC

On Twitter? Follow @ACEurasia and use #ACRussia.

Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights

Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 Add to my Calendar Time: 02:15 PM Location: Senate Dirksen 419, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Panel One

The Honorable Victoria Nuland

Assistant Secretary; Bureau Of European And Eurasian Affairs

U.S. Department of State

Washington , D.C.

Dr. Michael Carpenter

Deputy Assistant Secretary Of Defense; Russia, Ukraine, And Eurasia

U.S. Department of Defense

Washington , D.C.

Panel Two

Mr. David Satter

Senior Fellow

Hudson Institute

Washington , D.C.

Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Kara-Murza

National Coordinator

Open Russia Movement

Moscow, Russia Federation

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