Was the Russian Election Fraudulent?
The Times today published a compelling report of first-hand observations of election fraud in Russia’s recent parliamentary elections. There are mounting protests; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced “serious concerns” about the election and called for a “full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.”
But what if those first-hand observations were anomalous? What if the outcome for Vladimir Putin‘s United Russia Party, as disappointing as it was for him, truly represents the will of the Russian people?
A reader named Sergei Burkov, who identifies himself as “ex-head of Google Russia R&D Center” writes in with the following information:
A great Freakonomics story tip:
Russian physicist Sergey Shpilkin managed to statistically analyze the results of the Russian Parliamentary elections, identify fraudulent component, and deduct it, to come up with the estimates of untainted results: Putin’s United Russia got 34%, not 51% as officially reported.
Done the same way as Google identifies (and deducts) fraudulent AdWords clicks and Palantir catches terrorists and money launderers.
I asked Burkov if any of Shpilkin’s findings were in English (the links above are in Russian) — and how the analysis had been done so quickly; the elections were held on Sunday.
No, I don’t think there is an English version yet. He had his software ready. He analyzed past results: esquire.ru/elections when the new results arrived, he just plugged the new numbers in. Raw data is published online in near real time on the website of the official Russian election commission.