GOLOS' Public Hearings «Unbelievable, but true: facts and illustrations of the federal elections 2007–2008»
On April 23–24 GOLOS organized Public Hearings «Unbelievable, but true: facts and illustrations of the federal elections 2007–2008». Experts from different political parties and non-governmental organizations came together to discuss violations and irregularities during the Parliamentary and Presidential electoral campaigns in Russia. Monitors and witnesses from approximately 10 Russian regions presented facts and documents on mass violations of electoral procedure. The aim of Public Hearings was to inform the public in Russia and other countries about problems, which have been marginalized by the government and the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).
During the first day of the event experts presented their reports containing the statistical analysis of the electoral results. Communist State Duma Deputy V. Solovjev elaborated on inequality in mass media coverage during both campaigns. Through statistical data, he demonstrated that the «United Russia» party enjoyed favorable conditions while the others faced numerous obstacles. He stressed that the CEC’s inactivity was an outrage. The SPS lawyer V. Prokhorov described last elections as a “real fight”, because the law-enforcing authorities prevented opposition candidates from carrying on the campaign. Then independent experts A. Lubarev (PhD), A. Busin (PhD) and L. Shibanova (GOLOS Chairman) presented sensational reports based on statistical analysis of the electoral results. In some cases the data demonstrated proved a vote rigging on a large scale.
On the second day of the event witnesses from different regions presented their personal Election Day stories. They described numerous cases when local and regional electoral commissions all over the country prevented Russian citizens from filing complaints about violations by removing active voters and monitors from the polling stations by force and accusing them of law violations.
After two-day session the participants of the Hearings agreed that it was necessary to provide permanent mechanisms of public control over electoral procedure. The first step in this direction had been made already: GOLOS began to collect and store data about irregularities on the website www.baza.golos.org. Citizens are encouraged to visit the website and send GOLOS information about irregularities observed during the elections.
Public Hearings in press