African rappers sing ode to Russia's Putin

This rap duo comes from Zimbabwe and Kenya, they live in Moscow and they have become famous from a song paying homage to… Vladimir Putin, a feat all the more surprising given the prevalence of racism against Africans in Russia. Read more...

Election fraud in Russia caught on video: ballot-stuffing, erasable ink and more

Opposition leaders called for a second round of mass demonstrations in Moscow on Tuesday, to protest against last weekend’s parliamentary elections amid widespread claims of irregularities favouring Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Our Observer on the ground, who participated in Sunday’s election as an observer for an opposition party, described what he witnessed once the polls closed and counting began. Read more…

The panellist who disappeared

The panellist was cut out but you can still see his legs.

Last October a political analyst well known for his critical attitude towards the Kremlin took part in a pre-recorded debate on the Russian TV channel TV Centre. Were the authorities ready to get slated on telly? Apparently not. When the show was broadcast a few days later, the opponent magically disappeared from the set. Read more...


“They close the British Council, but buy houses in London"

'Until now, Iran and Burma were the only countries to ban the British Council'.

Russians react to the closure of the British Council by the Russian authorities. One of them remembers when it was closed down once before in the past. That was in 1947, and it marked the beginning of the Cold War. Another says that the Russian authorities are becoming schizophrenic: "They close the British Council, but buy houses in London." Read more...


Satellite dishes forbidden in Turkmenistan


According to "Maciula", a blogger who specialises in post-soviet countries, the Turkmenistan regime does not support liberalisation. It was recently confirmed by the fact that the new president decided to prohibit satellite aerials, that he would have more control over information. "Is the West really so naive as to believe in the liberalism of a man who was indoctrinated by Soviet propaganda?" Read more...


New possible evidence of election fraud

Further possible proof of election fraud is emerging. Blogger Grigori Belonuchkin who was monitoring a polling station on the day, has revealed evidence that some documents sent to the electoral committee were fake. The papers, which had been modified to boost the count for President Vladimir Putin's party, were located and corrected. However, the blogger says that others had already been registered.

Caught on tape stuffing a ballot box. But is it authentic?

By Team Observers

This video, filmed on a mobile phone, was originally posted on www.smena.info, a site hosted by Smena, a relatively unknown Russian opposition group. It has since been snapped up by numerous television chains. It shows a woman stuffing a ballot box with voting papers at a polling centre. In the background, a man’s voice asks her, in Russian, to “turn over the ballot slip”. The rest is inaudible. At the end of the film, however, we hear the person who’s filming ask a guard: “Do you have any pistols? Which model?” The video is dated Dec. 2, Russia's parliamentary election day. But the tape date, and its authenticity, are yet to be verified. Our regional editor, Maria Antonova, and our observer Anastasiya Lebedev, will keep us updated.


"Putin's plan is victory for Russia"

Material compiled by our Russian/ former-USSR regional editor, Maria Antonova

In September, President Putin's United Russia party launched a paper campaign across Russia. The slogan: "Putin's Plan - Victory for Russia" (Plane Puntina - Pobeda Rossii). Internet users react to these posters and booklets distributed in the street by members of the party.