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Leonid Bershidsky

Russia Proves Vote Fraud Can Happen Anywhere

An autocrat with the will and the means can make sure elections turn out in his favor.
One each, please.

One each, please.

Photographer: Elena Fitkulina/AFP/Getty Images)

When Donald Trump suggested in August that the presidential vote might be rigged, his claim was dismissed by fact-checkers and experts who explained that large-scale electoral fraud is not possible in the U.S. Indeed, it hasn't taken place for generations. And yet it's useful to keep in mind how easy it is to subvert an election system: I know, I come from a country where it happens systematically.

For 10 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia had a largely fraud-free election system; international observers certified Russian elections as free and fair in the mid-1990s. In the 2000s, however, fraud became widespread, and it determined the outcome of the most recent elections for parliament, on Sept. 18.