6 march 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reviews the system for the webcam monitoring of polling stations during his visit to the 2012 election monitoring centre


The prime minister visited the Elections 2012 centre, a headquarters of the election observer corps at the Moscow State Law Academy, where he spoke with representatives of the observer group For Fair Elections and participants of the Citizens for Fair Elections project.

The young lawyers told the prime minister that they have received 4,500 complaints over the past two months and on election day. However, according to them, far from all of the reports were true. "In many cases when we received calls about violations taking place, we looked at the polling station online and saw that everything was in order there," said Yuliana, a law student.

The representatives of the centre said that they will summarise the information, including complaints and the results of the checks, and send a report to the president elect.

"There must have been some violations, naturally," Putin said during his conversation with the young lawyers. "They should be identified and investigated, so that it will be clear to everyone." He said he hoped that every complaint would be checked and forwarded to the appropriate agencies for further investigation. ""I expect the tightest control and the closest monitoring of the situation, to avoid any dirt," Putin emphasised.

He examined the centr2012.ru website, which aggregated the reports of all observers who monitored the elections.

Dmitry Shumkov, chairman of the non-profit partnership Federal Law System, said that the resource was intended for posting copies of election commission protocols immediately after voting. Observers photographed the protocols with their mobile phones the moment they were completed and signed, and sent the images to the monitoring centre. "We received the documents instantly," Shumkov explained.

One of the students volunteered to make a demonstration for the prime minister. He took a blank protocol, filled it out, photographed it with his mobile and uploaded the image to the system. A copy of the protocol appeared on the screen, on a page for the selected polling station. According to Shumkov, this function has largely dispelled people's suspicions about potential election fraud. "As many as 70 million users watched this, were convinced and quieted down," he said with satisfaction.

Putin noted that some of the outrage emanating from certain party activists is not directly linked to the voting results. "This is part of political campaigning and is unrelated to the elections themselves," he said.

Before leaving, he thanked all the volunteers who participated in the project.

Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank you all for the work you've done. This was very important both as part of organising the elections and to ensure that they were honest and transparent. This is important because it reassures the people that their will is being accurately expressed in the voting results. And, it is even more important for improving Russia's political system and consolidating its statehood in the most direct sense of the word – something that, as most of you are lawyers, you should be especially interested in. Thank you for doing this.