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How Russians voted and expressed themselves in the presidential elections

Voting in the presidential elections in the Russian Federation, which lasted from March 15 to 17, followed a scenario already familiar to Russian regions – with traditional queues at polling stations on Friday and costumed performances throughout all three days. The only atypical events were attempts to spoil ballots in ballot boxes and cause material damage to polling stations, but such incidents had practically disappeared by Sunday thanks to increased security measures.

The first day of voting, as usual, caused a stir among state employees and employees of large enterprises, who disciplinedly lined up at polling stations immediately after they opened. Kommersant correspondents observed morning pandemonium in different regions. In one of the educational institutions in Voronezh, for example, the wait to approach the ballot box took about 40 minutes. However, the citizens standing in this line did not experience any discomfort: many of them admitted to a Kommersant correspondent that their employers promised not to punish them for being late.

Capital journalists on Friday discovered a crowded queue at the entrance to the school on Bolshoy Afanasyevsky Lane, where Defense Ministry employees traditionally vote en masse.

At the polling stations that one of Kommersant’s correspondents visited in the north of Moscow on March 15, the atmosphere that was quite familiar to residential areas reigned: mostly women with small children and older citizens went to collect ballots, often congratulating the commission members “happy holiday.”

The already familiar elements of the carnival at polling stations also contributed to the high spirits. For example, in Vladivostok, one of the first to vote was “Piratych,” the mascot of the local hockey club “Admiral.” In St. Petersburg, the full complement of SKA hockey players went to the site, and with them the “Horse-Fire” mascot. In the Kabansky district of Buryatia, a person dressed as a boar voted, in Tarbagataisky – in a tarbagan costume (an animal from the marmot family), and in the city of Gusinoozersk, ballots were put into the ballot box by “hugging geese”. Seals, squirrels, pandas, foxes, moose, penguins and other creatures also came to the sites – right up to Cheburashka in Dagestan or “peskoviks” (sand snowmen) in Kuban. Historical figures were no less popular – Peter I, Alexander Nevsky, Catherine II, Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin.

Also, quite traditionally, elections were replete with national flavor. In the Voronezh and Lipetsk regions, employees of some PECs were dressed in Russian folk costumes. In the Tyumen region, a shaman with a tambourine came to vote, in Karachay-Cherkessia – elders in Circassian hats, in the Krasnodar Territory – Cossacks in hats. At the same time, Maslenitsa festivities took place throughout the country accompanied by performances by amateur art groups. In the Stavropol region, a barbecue grill was even installed in front of one of the sites.

On the other hand, completely atypical for Russian elections were attempts to interfere with voting using brilliant green, “Molotov cocktails”, firecrackers and other dangerous items.

By the end of the second day, the geography of such “sabotage” covered more than 20 regions, and the total number of incidents approached three dozen. In Borisoglebsk, Voronezh alone, there were three attempts to fill trash cans with green paint.

After this, security measures were seriously strengthened throughout the country. According to the observations of Kommersant correspondents, if on Friday in most cases it was enough for voters to pass through the metal detector, then on Sunday everyone who came was subjected to a thorough search using a hand-held detector. Citizens with bags and backpacks were asked to show the contents and leave bottles, thermoses and other vessels at the entrance, including electronic cigarettes. In addition, on March 17 in Moscow, vigilantes appeared in voting premises, and police officers appeared near each ballot box. The security measures appear to have had an effect as few new incidents were reported at the stations on Sunday.

One of the few exceptions was an arson attempt at polling station No. 2138 in the suburbs of Krasnodar (Novoznamensky village), which was committed by a 13-year-old schoolgirl. She set the tablecloth on fire on a table in the voting room, but a serious fire was avoided. As the chairman of the commission, Inna Emelyanova, said, the girl acted on orders from the Ukrainian special services. Now psychologists are working with her to initiate a criminal case under Art. 141 of the Criminal Code (“Obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights or the work of the election commission”), which became “habitual” during the voting, has not yet been reported.

As Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Alexander Gorovoy reported on Sunday evening at the CEC information center, law enforcement officers recorded 22 attempts to smuggle dyes into polling stations, and 33 criminal cases were initiated.

Finally, by Sunday afternoon, the center of attention was an action organized by non-systemic oppositionists abroad. Its essence boiled down to arriving at the site at a specific moment – at 12 o’clock local time.

As planned, the resulting queues were supposed to visually demonstrate the number of dissatisfied voters. And Kommersant correspondents, who visited several sites in Moscow and the near Moscow region at the indicated time, actually found revival there.

Thus, by midday small groups of young people began to arrive at polling station No. 2561, located in the center of Moscow, on Kutuzovsky Prospekt, although there were also older people among those who came. As a result, small queues even began to form in front of the metal detector (the police checked voters’ backpacks on the street, and then inspected them more thoroughly inside, confiscating any liquids and asking them to leave large bags and backpacks at the entrance). Animation also reigned inside the PEC: the chairman of the commission, Tatyana Boyko, had to manually control the influx of voters, asking some to wait their turn to express their will in the corridor. “Now there are people who want to vote only with paper,” Ms. Boyko told Kommersant, explaining that in previous days the ratio was 50 to 50, and the terminal was especially preferred to a paper ballot by those who were in a hurry. At the same time, the head of the PEC admitted that her section passes through “rush hour,” but explained the influx of people as a “lunch break.”

At about 12:00, the previously half-empty foyer of the former main building of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (the city of Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region), where polling station No. 338 is located (mainly Physics and Technology students vote there, and the election results often differ from the all-Russian ones), suddenly filled with people. Several people were allowed into the voting room at a time, and a queue of several hundred citizens filled the entire hall.

But at several polling stations in Khimki near Moscow, where voters were not actively searched at the entrance, but were offered pancakes from the Maslenitsa table at the door, the Kommersant correspondent did not encounter any queues. Although the election commissions confirmed increased voter activity compared to Friday and Saturday. “People got enough sleep, come and vote in families – nothing surprising. Anomalies? They are really active, more active than in previous elections, but there are no surges,” reported one of the polling stations.

Kommersant correspondents also observed a certain revival around 12:00 local time, right up to the formation of queues, at sites in a number of other regions, in particular in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg. True, the Novosibirsk mayor’s office explained these accumulations as a result of enhanced checks at the entrance. And Anna Absalyamova, adviser to the chairman of the election commission of the Sverdlovsk region, assured Kommersant that “from the point of view of the election commissions, there are no special surges (turnout.— “Kommersant”) or there were no falls.”

Andrey Prah, Andrey Vinokurov, Anastasia Kornya, Grigory Leiba; corset “Kommersant”

2024 presidential election results

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The turnout was: 0%

Processed: 0% protocols

According to the CEC as of 00:00, March 17, 2024

Putin scored more than 90%

Putin scored from 80% to 90%

Putin scored less than 80%

* Below the map are the results of candidates throughout the country; when you hover over a specific subject, the results in it are shown. For each subject, Putin’s results in previous elections since 2000 or since the formation/adoption of the region into the Russian Federation are additionally indicated.

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