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Why we know Russian election was fair (more or less)

One of the American empire’s enemies and rivals is Russia. So, these days, lies and innuendos about Russia can become mainstream ‘news’ and, potentially, this kind of b.s. can be turned into war and other terrible things. The latest very good example of this dangerous phenomenon is the ‘news’ that this week’s Russian election was a swindle and that groovy young progressives are now demonstrating in the streets for their right to free and fair elections, supported in their heroic cause by accusations from the U.S. Secretary of State and her EU/NATO allies.

And yet, the election results were obviously a reasonably accurate reflection of voter preferences, because they match the mostly independent opinion polls preceding the election and the independent exit polls at the time of the election. Gee, you’d think no controversy with data that conclusive, but, go figure again, those of you unaware of the effect of imperial rivalry on ‘news’. 

The following remarkably prescient piece by Anatoly Karlin (AK) from a couple days before the elections helps clarify how these things go:

A Quick Note on Russia’s Duma Elections 2011

Posted on December 3, 2011 by AK

On reading Western commentary on the upcoming Russian Duma elections, I realized that they can’t decide between two narratives: either the popularity of United Russia is sinking faster than Herman Cain’s following his sex abuse scandals, thus meaning that it will manipulate the votes to get its desired majority; or Russian elections are complete shams anyway (as we all know) and thus irrelevant, which does away with the inconvenient fact that for all the liberals’ harping about United Russia being the “party of crooks and thieves” consistently more than 50% of Russians still insist on voting for it.

The reality is quite a bit simpler than these convoluted attempts to discredit Russian democracy (though some are quite simple and transparent in their propaganda: given the data from opinion polls, it is hard to believe Miriam Elder, who wrote in the Guardian that when she asked a classroom of 22 students whether they would vote against United Russia, “every single student raises their hand”). As I wrote back in July, opinion polls of voter preferences closely correlate to election results. And unfortunately for some it just so happens that the “decline” of United Russia’s popularity is really little more than the product of fevered imaginations: as you can see from the list of opinion polls on Wikipedia, United Russia’s share of the vote (excluding the undecided and those who won’t vote) has stayed largely steady and well ahead of all the other parties.

AK then adds the following recent (Wikipedia) polling results chart, and writes that any result in the 50s for the United Russia party (it ended up receiving 49.4% of the votes) would be reflective of the opinion poll trend and therefore indicate a generally fair election. Fair by current somewhat lax standards, of course, and not pretending Russian elections are purer than they are in the U.S., for example. Seems about right to me. (AK also with excellent accuracy predicted the Russian communist party would receive about 20% of the vote.)

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Finally, and absolutely devastating to the ‘rigged election’ propagandists, are the exit polls, which also precisely predicted exactly what the actual results were:

Exit polls show Putin’s party getting less than 50 percent in Russia’s parliamentary election
Exit polls: Putin’s party losing support
Associated Press | Dec 4, 2011 11:23 AM CST

Exit polls cited by Russian state television are showing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party tallying less than 50 percent of the vote in Russia’s parliamentary election. . . .

United Russia is followed by the Communist Party with nearly 20 percent of the vote, according to two separate exit polls cited by Channel One and Rossiya television.

It would be very nice if the embarrassing narrative now being pushed by Western imperialism and its allies within Russia reminded many of us of similar Western imperialist nonsense, that Iran’s 2009 elections were massively unfair. Again, like the current narrative, massively unfair despite the fact that the results fairly closely reflected pre-election polling. Russia is a much more open society than is Iran, so we can have even greater trust in the accuracy and independence of its pre-election and exit polls.

As in Iran, the Russian election tempest — founded on lies and being stirred up mostly by the West and its money — will probably end in a whimper not a revolt. Yup, protests already fizzling.

P.S. This diary was inspired by the following smirk at pffugeecamp:

Yes, noom but how do we know [the Russian elections were unfair], really? We can’t rely on the word of opposition leaders (4.00 / 1)

and we certainly can’t rely on the MSM, especially the British MSM.

This is clearly another CIA caper to thwart Russia because they continue to back Iran and refused to sanction the neo-imperialist invasion of Libya (to steal their oil just like we stole Iraq’s and soon will be stealing Russia’s and Iran’s resources too.

Clearly.

by: donkeytale @ Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 16:59:21 PM EST

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