March’s presidential elections will have much stronger checks and balances at polling stations than before, with a law requiring two webcams, a computer, modem and UPS for online monitoring of the vote at each polling station.
Some are calling it the ‘virtualisation’ of the election, with officials reading out results to camera in order to minimise disputes in an operation that is costing nearly half a billion euros.
The opposition fears this is just window-dressing and it will ensure as virtual a result as they claim December’s was, when Putin’s party dominated in the parliamentary polls.
While outgoing President Medvedev did call the opposition in for talks on Monday, the first Kremlin contact with them since December, Prime Minister Putin has yet to do so despite promising to meet.
Few emerged satisfied from the talks, and the following day protests resumed.
Police arrested 20 people in front of the Electoral Commission. They were holding an unauthorised sit-in to protest at opposition candidates not being allowed to run in the parliamentary poll. Two months on, and plenty of people are still feeling cheated. Will they be feeling fooled again on March 5th?