«This was a display of true democracy,» one could conclude based on the results of the «Unified Voting Day» in Russia if you read the notes of Russian propaganda media.
Almost all of them refer to certain «foreign observers» who «did not register» serious violations in the Russian elections, positively assessed the voting in occupied territories, and considered the standards to be much higher than in many Western democracies. However, there is one caveat: the «foreign observers» who approved the current Russian pseudo-election farce turned out to be long-time friends of Moscow, speaking only what is favorable to the Kremlin. However, not all of them are truly foreigners.
One of the so-called «experts» on elections for the Russian media is a citizen of Germany, Volker Friedrich Karl Chapke, the founder of the «Prussian Society,» popular among far-right groups. He «observed» the voting in the so-called «Luhansk People’s Republic,» of course, not noticing any violations. «The voting procedure in the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) is organized openly and democratically,» Chapke said, praising the work of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC). «In my opinion, in Germany, it’s not even half as well done as it is here.» What is this so-called «expert» known for? He collaborated with Yevgeny Prigozhin for many years and received money from Prigozhin’s companies for «consultations» on organizing conferences within the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC), associated with Putin’s «chef.»
Invited as an international expert for the elections in Melitopol was a «German independent journalist and writer» named Thomas Reper, a favorite of Russian media who, not for the first time, says only what aligns with Russia’s official ideology. This «German writer» turned out to be a full-fledged citizen of Russia. In 1998, he moved to St. Petersburg, where he became the marketing director at the «Russ» joint-stock company. Reper also co-founded the company «Sankosmetix Distribution,» which sold perfumes (and consistently operated at a loss). He also attempted to trade in fuel with the firm «Persia Trade.» However, all of his companies were closed. His journalistic activities mostly consist of running his own website: «Rupor News,» although it is not particularly popular.
Another pseudo-observer with longstanding business ties to Russia is George Klein Preston IV, the co-founder of the LLC «Mitchell and Preston Attorneys.» His glowing assessment of the elections also lacked originality: «For the sixth time, I am serving as an international expert on elections, and I can say that all the standards of electoral procedures have been observed.» Preston has long been on the list of politically biased observers in elections. According to monitoring missions, the fake expert closely collaborates with Russian officials.
It is evident that there can be no talk of openness and transparency in Russian elections. The participation of foreign citizens as «observers» in «elections» in occupied territories amounts to complicity in the crimes of the aggressor state. The international community must condemn this practice and impose additional sanctions against all legal and physical persons who participated in these so-called «elections.»