Russian authorities probe vote-rigging videos
Moscow: Russia's top investigative agency has
launched a probe regarding videos that have shown up on
Internet purporting to show fraud taking place during the
country's presidential election, even though it hasn't taken
The Investigative Committee said today that it is looking
for the authors of the videos, which are dated March 4, the
day of the presidential vote.
Kremlin critics have accused authorities of secretly
producing the videos themselves to discredit genuine evidence
of what the opposition fears will be a fraud during Sunday's
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is all but certain to
reclaim the presidency in the election and he already has
claimed that the opposition is preparing to fake evidence of
vote-rigging to discredit the balloting.
During Russia's parliamentary election in December,
authentic videos taken at polling stations by volunteer
observers showed vote rigging.
Those videos angered the public and helped fuel a series
of gigantic anti-Kremlin rallies, the biggest show of
discontent since the Soviet collapse 20 years ago.
Despite those rallies, Russian authorities continue to
stonewall opposition demands to punish the officials who have
been accused of carrying out the vote rigging then.
Last month, the Investigative Committee claimed that many
of the videos showing fraud in December also were fake and
that they were posted from a server in California.
That statement followed Putin's claims that the US has
been behind the opposition protests.
Golos, Russia's leading independent election monitoring
group, checked the only December video identified by the
Investigative Committee as fraudulent and said the
investigators doubted its authenticity because they had made a
mistake in identifying its location.