Duma elections: surprises and doubts in Putin's victory
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Protests over falsification of results, especially those related to electronic voting in the capital. Ukraine and Turkey contest vote in Crimea; Georgia against vote in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Navalnists: "Useful vote" against Putin candidates worked in Siberia. Communists advance.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - The outcome of the Russian elections has confirmed Putin's dominance in the Duma (Lower House) and in national and regional politics. This hegemony, however, risks turning out to be a Pyrrhic victory. The protests over the falsification of the results, especially those related to electronic voting in the capital, are not extinguished.

Oopponents, especially communists and navalnists, maintain the ruling United Russia party were fraudulently allocated between 15 and 20% of votes more than those really obtained; also the participation to the vote would have been inflated to demonstrate the loyalty of the voters to the regime.

Protests also come from outside, for granting the right to vote to Russians in territories that are "occupied" or in various ways controlled by Russia beyond its borders: all obviously in favor of the "liberator" president.

Ukraine protests over the mass of voters in Donbass and Crimea. Even Turkey has made its dissent heard. In a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Ambassador Tanju Bilgiç, Ankara said it "does not recognize the results of the elections for the renewal of the Russian parliament," because "Turkey supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and considers the annexation of Crimea," which at one time was part of Ottoman territories, to be illegal.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry also condemned the holding of Russian elections in the Russian-controlled territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the 2008-2011 conflict. The two self-proclaimed autonomous republics, formally belonging to Georgia, opened more than 20 polling stations, in which not only parties, but also several candidates for uninominal seats from various regions of Russia, from the north to Siberia, were put to the vote. According to Tbilisi, these behaviors "violate all norms of international law."

The affirmation of the KPRF Communists is difficult to digest for the Putin regime, given until the end of the polls around 25%, then relegated to a more "acceptable" 19%. Several hundred supporters of the KPRF have taken to the streets in Moscow and other cities to protest against fraud. In the country the impression is spreading that as Putin's allies, the Communists can at least attempt a criticism that gives voice to popular discontent. The communist victory in the far-eastern Republic of Jacuzia caused a sensation, which also resulted in the victorious candidacy of former mayor Sardana Avksentieva with the "New People" list.

The Republic of Sakha, as the territory around the capital Jakutsk is called, saw the unexpected victory of the communist Petr Ammosov in the uninominal seat, and the Kprf overtook the United Russia list under the leadership of the "barbaric jakuto" Sergej Levčenko, humiliating the Putinans of the current president of Jacuzia, Ajsen Nikolaev, and the historical deputy Galina Dančikova.

The Jakuti demonstrated freedom of thought and political courage, four years after the surprising election of Avksentieva. The incompetence of the authorities in dealing with the forest fires of the warm months, which forced the inhabitants of many eastern regions to breathe smoke all summer long, was punished: it is just one of the reasons for popular discontent, which increasingly push the communists to oppose the regime, despite the fact that they have never been popular in these territories.

The navalnist project of the umnoe golosovanie (smart vote) seems to have been averted, with preventive repressions and manipulations of the results. The supporters of the imprisoned blogger believe, however, that they have obtained important results, both with the support of the communists and other non-Putin lists, and for having succeeded in placing some deputies, who escaped the control of the state machine.

Even the obvious forgeries demonstrate the lack of legitimacy of Putinism, as Navalist Leonid Volkov reiterates on his Telegram channel. A candidate of the LdPR party (liberal-nationalists) very close to the navalnists, Aleksej Didenko, has managed to win a seat in parliament thanks to the votes of Russians living in London and Paris, as Interfax reports, while presenting himself in the Tomsk region of Siberia. Didenko overtook Putin's Ilja Leontev by only 600 votes after several recounts.