The Kremlin is planning to falsify the results of this Sunday’s presidential election in Russia by compelling millions of public sector workers to vote and by fraudulently boosting the official turnout after polls close, the Guardian has learned.
Governors, regional officials, and even headteachers have been instructed to deliver a landslide majority for Dmitry Medvedev – Russia’s first deputy prime minister, whom President Vladimir Putin has endorsed to be his successor.
Officials have been told they need to secure a 68% to 70% turnout in this weekend’s poll – with around 72% casting votes for Medvedev. However, independent analysts believe the real turnout will be much lower – with between 25% and 50% of the electorate taking part.
The Kremlin is planning to bridge the gap by the use of widespread fraud, diplomats and other independent sources have told the Guardian. Local election officials are preparing to stuff ballot boxes once the polls have closed with unused ballots, they believe, with regional officials also giving inflated tallies to Russia’s central election commission.