Europe

Russian media see election flaws

A woman carrying a child casts her ballot next to a Russian cossak (R) at a polling station in Rostov-on-Don
Image caption Support for the ruling United Russia Party has decreased

Scepticism has filled many Russian newspapers following what some media outlets consider to have been a flawed parliamentary election, with some party leaders and opposition activists also using Twitter to voice concerns over the election process.

However, several commentators have detected a change approaching in Russian politics, after the drop in support for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party.

NEWSPAPERS

Mikhail Rostovsky in Moskovskiy Komsomolets

No 'Orange Revolution' will happen in Russia on the cusp of 2011-12. The authorities will ensure whatever result from the election they consider necessary. [However, the results] may be deemed unfair by a considerable part of the Russian population. If that happens, the keynote of the Russian political process in the near future may be a gradual erosion in the legitimacy of the authorities.

Editorial in Vedomosti

Those who tried to sterilise the election and the vote count probably unknowingly did the authorities a bad turn. They confirmed society's fears. It is highly probable that many people will refuse to recognise the results of such an "election" instead of the real people's choice, and will wish to count the votes themselves.

Kirill Rogov in Novaya Gazeta

The predictable result of the election is that the results will not be regarded as legitimate by the population. The authorities are to blame for this. Never before have we seen such shameless pressure, such brazen pressuring of undesirable candidates and observers, such nakedly lawless behaviour on the part of officials and such an evident show of political commitment from the Central Electoral Commission.

Aleksandr Rubtsov in Novaya Gazeta

Having put himself above everything and having put everything around him down, Putin has made the system fully dependent on his own charisma. Without its leader, United Russia will instantly collapse and disperse. After this election, there will be a pause... and everything will "stabilise" again, but not forever: the process has started.

Head of the Political Information Centre Alexei Mukhin in Izvestia

I hope this will show the party that it is necessary to change, but not to become a bronze monument by ignoring the electorate's signals. This loss of votes is the result of the decision made by Putin and Medvedev to "exchange their posts".

Leonid Radzikhovsky in Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Yes, the ruling authorities have won, but their moral capital is declining. And if the system is weak inside, any outside impact (such as a drop in oil prices) will be enough, and it may collapse.

TWITTER

Many of Russia's best-known Twitter-users have been giving their reaction to the results, with Russia's most followed tweeter, President Dmitry Medvedev, hailing United Russia's poll success.

However, several high-profile party leaders and opposition activists used their tweets to claim election fraud, including opposition activist Roman Dobrokhotov, who was detained in Moscow on election day and criticised Mr Medvedev.

President Dmitry Medvedev

Thank you for supporting United Russia!

Opposition activist Roman Dobrokhotov

Whose support? No-one's supporting you, you cardboard buffoon. Only [chairman of the Central Electoral Commission] Churov and his wondermaths.

United Russia MP Alexander Khinshtein

When people say that it's only crooks, officials and forced slaves who vote for United Russia, they're spitting in the faces of millions of people!

A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov

What's happening in St Petersburg is completely outrageous - they're brazenly rewriting the electoral returns. Tomorrow we'll be out on the streets.

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky

We have been recording violations in every region today.

Popular blogger and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny

The party of crooks and thieves managed to crawl above 50% after all. I'll have to review my assessments of their dishonesty.

Popular photo-blogger Ilya Varlamov

Oh! United Russia's got more than 50%. Well, that's it, now I can go to sleep, without any fear of waking up in a different country.

Popular blogger and opposition activist Oleg Kozyrev

A clear success for protest voting. United Russia has collapsed and fallen below 50%. By the presidential election, they'll have slumped to 15%, where they belong.

BBC Monitoringselects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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