The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled last week that the 2011 Russian parliamentary elections were “unfair” and “compromised,” World Affairs Journal reported.
“The seven-judge panel (that included a judge from Russia) unanimously ruled that there has been a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to free elections,” World Affairs said.
In the case of Davydov and Others vs. Russia, the court concluded that the “fairness of the elections … was seriously compromised by the procedure in which the votes had been recounted. In particular, the extent of recounting, unclear reasons for ordering it, lack of transparency and breaches of procedural guarantees in carrying it out, as well as the results whereby the ruling party gained votes by large margins, strongly support the suspicion of unfairness.”
In the 2011 elections, 450 seats were up for grabs in the Federal Assembly of Russia’s lower house, called the State Duma.
In the final tally, President Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia, won 238 of the 450 seats and got just under 50% of the vote to retain their majority. In 2007, United Russia won 67% of the vote.
According to a 2011 Wall Street Journal analysis, United Russia got a lot of votes in precincts where voter turnout was above the national average. “That dynamic suggests broad ballot-stuffing,” the Wall Street Journal wrote, adding that approximately 14 million of the 65.7 million votes cast were questionable.
Even Golos, Russia’s leading independent vote-monitoring group, according to World Affairs Journal, said that the “elections of the deputies of the State Duma were not free and fair and that they did not comply with Russian electoral legislation and the international electoral standards.”
After the results were announced, thousands of Russians took to the streets near the Kremlin, and across Russia, to condemn the rigged elections.
Fifty thousand Russian riot police were deployed to quell the situation, and more than 1,000 protestors were arrested.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said at the time that “we have serious concerns about the conduct of the election” and called for a “full investigation.” Putin later accused Clinton of fomenting the protests.
Since the ECHR’s conclusion, Russia has promised to appeal the ruling.