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InvestigationVideo Observation12 December 2019, 10:12
Picture by Kseniya Telmanova

After scandalous elections in St. Petersburg volunteers have watched video recordings from cameras of 34 polling stations and found that the difference between their discovery and official voting turnout was in two times. There was an illegal multiple voting organized in all municipalities. In total observers have fixed 257 carousel voters. Also there were stuffing ballots, which commonly were made by election commission members. Furthermore, procedures of votes counting were crudely violated. In fact, the results of elections in Petrogradsky district of St. Petersburg were falsificated. The government could ensure victory only so - even though almost all independent candidates were denied registration.

Access to video recordings

Video cameras were installed at most polling stations in Russia, the broadcast from which on election day was available for viewing by everyone. However, as soon as the broadcast ends, access to the video is closed - by the way, this is in violation of the principle of openness and transparency of the activities of election commissions enshrined in federal legislation. To obtain a video is possible only by means of a written request to the election commission of the subject of the Russian Federation, specifying a violation and a time interval when it occurred. At the same time commissions very often unjustifiably deny the requests to access to a video.

That's why activists are looking for ways to keep voting day videos while the broadcast lasts. On September 8, 2019, several programmer commands recorded videos using different methods. However, the organizers of the broadcast seriously oppose to give society access  to "means of proof": they built a consistent system of technical locks of automatic recording of video broadcast, significantly deteriorated the quality of image and sound.

Nevertheless, the broadcast from the polling stations of St. Petersburg was recorded almost completely. Thanks to this, videos from polling stations from №1628 to №1860 of St. Petersburg are now publicly available. This allows anyone to verify our findings.

There 53 polling stations in Petrogradsky district, and there were no broadcasts with 19 of them (that is 36%) - there were no video cameras. At the same time, the number of polling stations without video cameras increased for unknown reasons compared to previous elections. For example, at polling station №1629 in 2018 video cameras were, and in 2019 they no longer exist there, although the military did not vote at this polling station.

Watching the videos, observers counted the real turnout, searched for stuffing ballots and "carousels voting", and monitored compliance with counting procedures.

The Voting Turnout

Petrogradsky district (marked in the red frame in the diagram) showed the highest turnout in St. Petersburg (51%) - significantly more than other districts.

Video-observers counted a turnout at 23 polling stations of this district. The minimum discrepancy with official turnout was recorded at polling stations No.1614, No.1615, No.1619, as well as at No.1631 and No.1637, the maximum - at No.1618, No.1628, No.1636, No.1638, No.1641, No.1642, No.1647- No.1649. In the first group the turnout was about 30% together with "carousels," in the other - 45-50%.

Red circles indicate official turnout, green - results of video observation, grey - unknown polling stations.

All polling stations where the official turnout was less than 35% were attended by public supervisors (except No.1613). And often the turnout rates are lower, when more public attention was drawn to the polling station. Thus, the lowest turnout of the eight polling stations No.1612- No.1619 situated in the most "criminal" municipality of the Vedenskiy District was at those where attacks on independent members of the election commissions were fixed: No.1614, No.1615, No.1619, and after the attack the polling stations were visited by journalists and independent members of the territorial election commission. Therefore, the real turnout at most permanent polling stations can be considered 25-30%.

Stuffing ballots

It is possible to get the right result on the polling station in an easy way: to insert a pack of ballots at once. Video-observators found polling stations where such packs were thrown by members of commissions. Thus, the member of commission No.1642 put in a box four packs of ballots in one minute.

But the bulk was still put by carousel voters. So, for example, the hero of this video visits six polling stations, and everywhere throws packs of ballots. And only on polling station No.1642 the ordinary voter sees the stuffing ballot - and takes on the role of observer: runs after a member of the commission, addresses to the police, writes a statement.

The observers lodged three statements with the Investigative Committee: on poling stations No.1616- No.1619, No.1635, and No.1643. All statements have been lodged to Administration of Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is inactive.

Carousel voters

The movement "Golos" and "Observers of St. Petersburg" studied all available 34 videos from the polling stations of the Petrogradsky district. It has six municipalities, each of which had its own team of "carouselists." According to the available video recordings, it was possible to identify brigades participating in multiple voting:

  1. Kronverkskoe - 30 people.
  2. Aptekarsky Island - 72 people.
  3. Vvedensky - 33 people.
  4. Chkalovskoe - 49 people.
  5. Petrovsky - 30 people.
  6. Posadsky - 43 people.

The number of "carousel" votes at each polling station you can see on the map:

As a result of watching all available video records, the video-observers team found 257 "carousels" who voted at least 977 times (!)

Each carousel voter visited on average of 4-5 polling stations. In addition, at polling station No.1647 each of them voted 2-3 times. It is possible to reliably detect the multiplicity of voting only in the polling stations where video cameras were installed. The strategy of so called "voters" was next: at the polling station they received two ballots from the predetermined member of the commission, went to the booth, there took out a pack from the bag and threw it in ballot box. The ballots in the pack were fold in half in several stacks of 3-4 pieces so that when counted it was impossible to determine how many ballots were stuffed at the same time.

The report has attached photos and videos of some "carousel voters".

It is worth noting individually the direct participation of members of election commissions in the illegal issuance of ballots to carousel voters. The movement "Golos" and non-governmental organization "Observers of St. Petersburg" believe that law enforcement agencies have to identify every one of them, and higher commissions should immediately appeal to law enforcement agencies and remove guilty members from the commissions.


It is not enough just to stuff ballots into boxes for successful falsification of voting results: after the boxes open the number of ballots in them should correspond to the number of voters who put their signatures in the books.

Dishonest members of election commissions can solve this problem in different ways: to sign for those voters who usually do not go to vote; to write non-existent voters into additional sheets or simply not to show anyone the voter lists.

Falsification methods can be used differently, but according to the evidence of public supervisors, the following facts are reliably known:

  • Before election day in almost all polling stations safes were moved to separate offices not included to voting rooms. Access to these premises for observers was restricted on election day;
  • Public observers as well as independent members of election commission with the right to vote had unjustifiable limited access to election documentation;
  • The books with voter lists and sheets in these books were not numbered on election day;
  • Counting on books was closed, often in separate rooms outside the sight of cameras, independent members of election commission and even territorial election commission were denied their right to make sure that counting on books was correct.
  • There were attempts to remove election commission members from work and remove them from polling stations on evidence-free reasons (No.1638, No.1637, No.1619, No.1647);
  • The police did not act or take sufficient measures to counter the stuffing ballots and carousels: (No.1643, No.1635, No.1615).
  • Video analysis helps restore events, check statistics with reality, identify all law breakers. All identified crimes will be publicly visible examined in detail in the framework of the public investigation under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, and the persons responsible for these crimes will be included in the list of violations.

Create your investigation, join video-observers.

Report Authors:

  • Project "Prostovybory": Arkadiy Vishnev.
  • Movement "Golos": Sergey Piskunov, Alexey Khruslov, Victor Kabanov, Natalia Menkova.
  • "Observers of St. Petersburg": Olga Khmelevskaya, Valeriya Goryacheva, Vitaliy Karpov, Elena Atavina, Timofey Churov, Elena Kostyukova, Olga Kuzmina.

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