Russian v. US Elections - by Stephen Lendman
Comparing US Elections to Russia's.
Russia's December 4 elections filled 450 State Duma seats, Russia's Federal Assembly lower house.
Claims of electoral fraud followed. All elections have irregularities. At issue is whether results are comprised. Election monitor Golos accusations were spurious. America's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds it. It supports regime change in non-US client states.
It backs opposition groups, conducts propaganda campaigns, and does openly what CIA operatives do covertly to destabilize sitting governments.
Its mission is subverting, not promoting democracy. It operates with State Department funding and direction. It serves US imperial interests destructively against targeted countries.
So do USAID, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). They meddle internally against sitting governments. One way is by funding Golos.
It calls itself a Russian NGO established in 2000 to defend democratic rights and civil liberties. Claiming it's Russia's only "independent" electoral watchdog is duplicitous. It represents imperial Washington's interests against those of Russia's people and government. Moreover, by taking foreign funding, it violated Russian law.
Since early December, Russia's seen on and off street protests. On December 25, RIA Novesti headlined, "Tens of thousands rally in new election protest in Russia," saying:
Peaceful crowds filled "Moscow's Sakharov Avenue on Saturday to demand a rerun of parliamentary elections they claimed had been rigged, as well as liberal reforms in Russia, turning the temperature up on Vladimir Putin and his plans to return to the Kremlin."
Nonetheless, a VTsIOM December 10 - 11 poll showed most Russians support him. However, his 51% job approval rating dropped from 61% in late November and 68% in January. Street protests and legitimate social justice grievances are responsible.
Even though Russia's GDP rose 70% and living standards improved markedly during his tenure as president, millions of Russians still suffer from Yeltsin's post-soviet era "shock therapy."
As a result, 80% of Russian farmers went bankrupt, 70,000 state factories closed, an epidemic of unemployment raged, half or more of all Russians became impoverished, a permanent underclass was created, and crime, suicides, mortality, alcoholism, drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS soared to intolerable levels.
GDP plunged 50%. Life expectancy fell. An oligarch class accumulated enormous wealth at the expense of millions of harmed Russians.
Ignoring essential needs, Yeltsin let corruption and criminality flourish. One scandal followed another. Money-laundering became sport. Billions in stolen wealth were hidden in Western banks or offshore tax havens.
Many problems remain unresolved, especially given today's global economic crisis. In April, Pravda.ru headlined, "Poverty in Russia grows faster than expected," saying: