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Strasburg court looks into complaint about falsification of State Duma elections in St Petersburg

14 March 2013 

Source: (info), citing Kommersant, reports that the European Court of Human Rights has requested information in connection with a complaint made by St Petersburg voters concerning violations occurring during the elections to the State Duma and the city legislative assembly which took place in 2011.

Judge Soren Nilsen asked for information to be presented concerning the circumstances in which the “true” results of voting became clear to the applicants. Moreover, the court wishes to receive information on the examinations made by the Russian courts into the complaints concerning elections, and also on the political allegiances of the applicants.

The information must be presented before 6th May 2013. After this time the court will decide whether or not it will consider the application.

Twelve St Petersburg activists, eight of whom stood as candidates for the legislative assembly from Fair Russia made the application to the European Court of Human Rights on 8th December 2011, four days after the elections. The application stated that in more than 130 voting catchment areas in St Petersburg, the final reports were at variance with the results of the voting published by the Central Election Commission.

Nevertheless, the European Court of Human Rights refused to look into the matter until matter had been considered by domestic Russian courts. At the same time, the courts of the Russian Federation refused to examine complaints by voters concerning violations in elections as, in the court’s opinion, where a ballot is secret it is not possible to establish whether a violation of an actual individual’s rights has taken place. At present activists are seeking the right to appeal against results of voting in the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.

The elections to the State Duma which took place in 2011 were won by the United Russia party. After the results were announced many thousands of protests took place in Moscow with demands for the results of the voting to be annulled. Less numerous protests took place in the regions.