27/03/2024 lewrockwell.com  10 min 🇬🇧 #245616

Pékin félicite Poutine de sa réélection et salue un «partenariat stratégique global»

The Russian Elections: Were They Actually Rigged?

By Boyd D. Cathey
 My Corner

March 27, 2024

It is fascinating and instructive to read and digest the various critiques of the recent Russian presidential elections, March 16-18, 2024. Western journalists both on the political Left and the supposed political Right have uniformly attacked the vote as "rigged" and the election as stolen. That is, the election apparatus of "dictator" Vladimir Putin-who, along with Donald Trump and Viktor Orban, is the leader most loathed globally by both the political Left and the Establishment Right-manipulated and massaged the results to the effect that the Russian president received 87% of the votes cast (the turnout was around 74%).

Here is how the English Leftist paper of record, The Guardian, leads off its reporting of March 18 on the Russian vote:

Although Vladimir Putin's  landslide victory with 87% of the vote in the Russian election was no surprise, these elections were important both for the Kremlin and for those in opposition to Putin.

With voter turnout at 74% - the highest in history - anything less than a landslide victory would have suggested that those who did not vote for Putin represented a significant force in Russian politics. This would have been particularly awkward in the case of young upstart Vladislav Davankov, who, with 3.79% of the vote, came a close third place. Davankov has been mistakenly described as an anti-war candidate - he supports  peace and negotiations, 'but on Russia's conditions and without one step backwards' - but his platform also called for 'freedom of speech and opinion, instead of intolerance and denunciations', and 'openness and pragmatism instead of searching for new enemies'. [Claims by NPR that all oppositions candidates were in jail are patently false].

Several opposition figures, including the well-known blogger Maxim Katz, and barred candidate Boris Nadezhdin, publicly stated they would vote for him. According to  Vote Abroad, Davankov gained the majority of votes at Russian polling stations in other countries. With such a 'subversive' candidate on the ballot sheet, nothing other than absolute victory would have allowed Putin to sleep at night.

It was clear for some time that the Kremlin saw this election as a test of the regime's legitimacy. It was not enough for the Kremlin to win the election - it also had to demonstrate public engagement.... There was a push for early voting, especially in the occupied territories in Ukraine, where  electoral officials accompanied by armed men in uniform knocked on people's doors and politely asked them if they would like to vote early. Those who did not yet have Russian passports were allowed to  use their Ukrainian IDs. In Russia there were the usual raffles, discos and canteens at polling stations to entice people out...."

In other words, Russian election officials did some of what American-Democrat-election officials and agents did for the 2020 election, most specifically in the six crucial battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada.

Never mind, say the critics. Russian elections and American ones are two separate species, not comparable. The Russian ones are not credible, they solemnly intone-Putin is a tyrant who was just consolidating his power, they add.

And suddenly up pops, conveniently, a virulent anti-Putin Russian analyst, Sergey Shpilkin, who employs a dubious methodology to estimate that perhaps as many as 31 million out Putin's garnered total of 76 million (or about 41%) of the Russian president's vote total is fake! His analysis "hinges on comparing the distribution of votes for different candidates with the turnout at each polling station. A fair election [sic!] would typically show identical distributions differing only in absolute values. However, discrepancies in this pattern suggest vote inflation through ballot stuffing or the rewriting of vote tallies, which appear to have significantly skewed the official results."

His suggestion is sheer speculation based on what he conceives as a "fair election" and based on the presence or lack of identical vote total percentages for candidates across the board in all voting districts. In other words, he fails to take into account regional variations in voting and voting patterns, differences between urban and rural voting, and other significant factors which would account for vote totals. Indeed, is it not likely that regions of Russia nearest to and most affected by the war in Ukraine might vote differently than, say, regions in the Siberian Far East? Or that the city of Moscow, far more influenced by Western "culture," might skew such guestimates?

Nevertheless, the results of Shpilkin's miraculous deduction have been solemnly seized upon by the Establishment Media both in Western Europe and in the United States, as such a conclusion reinforces and confirms their view that "Putin is (another) new Hitler" who has destroyed "democracy" and "freedom" in Russia.

Report after report echoes the same refrain. Yet, despite that near uniformity in the media and among the US and EU political governing class that the Russian elections were rigged, and that if only a "fair" election would be held, Putin would be toast, the facts on the ground demonstrate the exact contrary. Vladimir Putin remains very popular in Russia. And occasionally a rare and realistic appraisal gets past the gatekeepers. Even the anti-Putin UK Telegraph (March 19) was forced to admit that the Russian president "enjoys a frightening level of support that Western media and politicians obscure...." And the Telegraph suggests that it understands why: "to preserve the illusion that there's just one evil madman to blame for the war in Ukraine, rather than a nation with far too many brainwashed anti-Nato, anti-Western nationalists keen to endorse their leader's aggression."

Despite reports from the BBC and The Economist that only "some" Russians in fact support President Putin, even The New York Times was finally forced to admit that independent polling by the well-regarded Levada Center (that has been  tracking Putin's approval rating since 1999) revealed that his support nationally in Russia stood at 86%. "Perhaps even more surprising," continued the Telegraph, "a ridiculous 75 per cent of Russians told the pollster that their country is heading in the right direction."

And the writer adds: "In the same way that Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's book, Hitler's Willing Executioners challenged the notion that it was Hitler alone who was responsible for the horrors of WW2 and the Holocaust, we must be honest in assessing Russian aggression beyond Mr. Putin. The media hopefully pretends that Russian aggression is solely a Putin problem. In fact, polling from Levada and others indicates that there are a troubling number of Russians who endorse Putin's warped view that Ukraine isn't a legitimate nation [sic]."

Thus, the real enemy is not just Vladimir Putin, but the Russian people, the entire Russian nation. We can only imagine what alarms that sets off in the fetid minds of Western globalists. Will the unelected and fanatical Neoconservative/Leftist globalist foreign policy apparatchiks, hidden away in faceless edifices in Washington and Brussels, now declare that their "war" to rid the world of Putin, perhaps assassinate the Russian president because he won't accept their tutelage, must be extended to the entirety of the Russian people? In other words, are we now watching the onset of an ethnic and religious war against an entire population? Is that what the US State Department and our foreign satraps in Bonn, London, and Paris now are envisaging in the name of "(y)our democracy"?

Consider: all independent polls prior to the Russian presidential election indicated that Vladimir Putin would win overwhelmingly by a huge margin of perhaps over 80%, which he did. Why, then, pray tell, given the global situation and how he is negatively viewed by American and EU leaders, would he confirm the views of Washington and Brussels that he was a "dictator," a "new Hitler," when assuredly he was destined to win by such a large margin? It makes no sense, and, if anything, Putin is not dumb. Even if the tyrant as he is often portrayed, he did NOT have to rig anything.

Indeed, a strong case could be made that the recently completed Russian elections were actually fairer in some ways than their 2020 American counterparts. At the very least accusers in the US should examine their own disreputable history of voter fraud and manipulation before zealously attacking Moscow.

Are we not witnessing a form of gaslighting and projection by American and EU critics of events in Russia, especially as we consider the various efforts in the United States to rig elections nationally or simply prevent an opponent from being on the ballot (e.g., the actions of Colorado and a few other states to remove Donald Trump from the presidential ballot).

As Mollie Hemingway, Dr. Naomi Wolf, Tucker Carlson, and others have convincingly shown, our own 2020 American presidential election was fraught with very skillful rigging. The 2020 election was undoubtedly the most corrupt in American history. As Hemingway recounts, we witnessed a combination of greatly extended absentee voting and counting newly-discovered votes after the election was supposed to be over, the lack of proper voter identification, vote harvesting, and the intentional use of unverified drop boxes, all of which was backed up by millions of dollars and support from such luminaries as Mark Zuckerberg. And we must add to this the direct and flagrant collusion of the news media which purposely hid the blockbuster story of Hunter Biden's corruption and Joe Biden's involvement in it.

Hemingway sums up what happened:

[T]o an alarming degree, Democrats achieved control over elections in 2020. What made 2020 different was that for the first time ever the groups that supported Democrats were allowed, on a widespread basis, to cross that bright red line that separates government officials who administer an election from political operatives. Unelected liberal activists were allowed to embed in government offices and actually take over election administration duties in crucial battleground states. They were given vast amounts of voter information and even put in charge of designing, distributing, and collecting ballots.... It was as if the Dallas Cowboys were allowed to hire and train their own family members to serve as referees and then got angry the opposing team didn't publicly accept a narrow loss with several controversial calls. [....] (Hemingway, Rigged: How the Media, Bid Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections. Washington: Regnery, 2021, pp. 206-207)

Our national foreign policy elites stress that we favor implanting "democracy" all around the globe, and that we will do everything to see it flourish. Of course, Russia (and then China, Iran, Hungary, etc.) comes in for harsh criticism. Yet, some of our major allies-Saudi Arabia comes to mind-are most definitely not "democratic." Our zeal for "(y)our democracy" has its velleities.

Or, consider our latest cause celebre, the defense of "(y)our democracy" in Ukraine. Our media and government praise its leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, as a "new George Washington." Yet Zelensky's government in Kiev has suppressed opposition parties and put his opponents in jail, while persecuting Ukraine's large Russian Orthodox religious church. Even former president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has described our ally as "a country corrupt at all levels of society."

The simple fact is that American criticism of the Russian elections, the constant accusations against its president, and the US commitment to defeat Russia in Ukraine, even if it costs the life of every Ukrainian, is essentially ideological and founded on the correct assumption that Russia refuses to return to the status which it had under Boris Yeltsin, who was, in caricature called "America's poodle" for his subservience to American globalist policy.

The developing globalist template can brook no opposition, whether domestically from a Donald Trump who fails to heed the commands of the Deep State, or from a Vladimir Putin who believes that the true interests of his country do not always coincide with Davos, Washington, or Brussels.

Reprinted with the author's permission.