State Duma elections approaching: record rigging and inevitable illegitimacy

While the general media attention is paid to the large-scale Russia- Belarus exercise “West 2021”, which are a show of force to NATO, everyone seems to be missing another event that is no less threatening to democratic values than the Russian army.
This week, September 19, Russia will be holding elections to the State Duma, which, already in the election phase, have become the most scandalous ones and portend both large-scale falsifications and violations, as well as are set to bring to power not just thieves in law, but actual war criminals.
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First of all, the elections in 2021 involve a number of persons who are in fact war criminals, whose hands are drenched in blood of the victims of war in Ukraine. These people personally stood behind the occupation of the Crimean peninsula and parts of Donbas. For example, this is about Alexander Borodai, who is currently a formal head of the “Union of Volunteers of Donbas.”
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In addition to the participation of war criminals in these elections, they will be held with the participation of those who illegally obtained Russian passports, residing in the occupied territories. Currently, Russian passports are being handed out almost forcibly. That is, without getting a Russian passport, those living in the occupied territories are doomed to become second-class persons, up to facing employment problems.
People who have not obtained Russian passports are harassed and limited in their rights, as well as persecuted. Those who have done so, albeit illegally, are being massively urged to vote, with instructions to cast ballots for the only party, “United Russia”.
This is due to the urgent need of “United Russia” to score the highest possible share of votes amid a steadily declining popular rating. How Russia is able to manipulate elections is well known to many after that ridiculous 2020 vote for the amendments to the Constitution. Let me remind you that Russian voters in some settlements were welcome to cast ballots right in the street, outside polling stations!
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But even if no one in Russia is embarrassed by such a gross violation of the secrecy of the ballot and other democratic and legislative norms, the need for the ruling party to gain more votes is truly acute.

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So, besides scrambling internal resources to pursue with election fraud across Russia, massive “external” measures are being plotted as the “electorate” is set to be involved from the occupied territories. This, in turn, makes the election even more illegitimate.
The international community must voice its collective stance on the ongoing outrageous campaign and decide to not recognize the election as such. Neither the new convocation of Russia’s State Duma nor its lawmakers individually should enjoy an official status internationally.
Otherwise, if the international community remains silent and passive, it will deliver a crushing blow to democracy and its values!

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