Russia's Federal Migration Service and Central Election Commission are to set up a special group to monitor the situation in Dagestan and St Petersburg after a high level of irregularities were found in voter registration lists there, Election Committee head Vladimir Churov said on Friday.
"Yesterday we agreed with our FMS colleagues to create a special group from the central apparatus of the FMS and CEC to study the situation in Dagestan and St Petersburg, where irregularities in the voting lists reached 3 percent in Dagestan and over 4 percent in St Petersburg," Churov said.
The nationwide average margin of erros in Russia's voting lists was just 0.9 percent he said.
Churov made his remarks at a hearing which took place in the Duma on Friday into the conduct of the December 4 Duma elections. The hearing was also attended by Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin.
Ahead of the March 4 presidential election, there has been considerable controversy, especially within the Internet community, over reports that massive fraud involving absentee ballots is underway in St. Petersburg.
The Novaya Gazeta daily looked into matter and came to the conclusion that the reports were true.
Apparently school principals in a St. Petersburg district received an official e-mail letter from N. V. Krasnova, deputy head of the Vasileostrovsky district education department, instructing them to order all of their employees residing outside the district obtain an absentee ballot and hand them in to the district education authority.
An anonymous blogger suggested similar letters were sent to all city districts.