During March 18 elections in Russia, Vladimir Putin was reelected as president, collecting about 76 percent of votes. Reporting on Vladimir Putin’s victory in the elections, Armenian TV stations have provided biased coverage of the elections, remaining silent on a number of recorded violations.
The preliminary report issued by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) observation mission stated that though these elections were properly organized, “there was no real competition.” The report also stated that the competition was also affected by the limitations on candidate registration (oppositionist Alexei Navalny was not allowed to run for president). The report also mentions that Russian voters did not receive critical assessments of the current president’s views through the mass media.
Moreover, according to the video materials posted on the Internet and the statements sent to the Russian CEC, there were a lot of violations. According to one of the Golos Movement’s Co-Chairs, the most recurrent violation during the election was forcing citizens to go to vote.
Besides, there are video footages of ballot stuffing in different regions of Russia by video cameras installed in the polling stations.
However, the Armenian media have preferred to remain silent on the backstage of Putin’s victory, preferring to talk about his record, as well as the “unquestionably positive” public attitude towards him.
The “Orakarg” TV program of Armenian Public TV, for instance, showed a video in which a Russian passer-by explains why he voted for Putin, saying that only Putin could find a way out in such a situation full of different threats. “Yerkir Media” TV station has also ignored evidence on recorded election violations. “Ararat”, “Armenia”, and “Kentron” TVs have also preferred not to talk about the violations and the relevant response of the international community.
It should be noted that the European Union has stated that “it does not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia, and, therefore, it does not recognize the holding of elections in the Crimean peninsula.” The population of the peninsula participated in the presidential elections in Russia for the first time after Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 2014.
The only Armenian TV station, which has covered the electoral violations recorded in the elections, is “Shant” TV. During the “Horizon” news program, videos of double voting and ballot stuffing recorded during the presidential elections in Russia were shown.