‘Are you sure this isn’t fake?’ Kremlin spokesman responds to reports of major companies monitoring voter turnout among employees

Maxim Shipenov / EPA / Scanpix / LETA

Meduza: Our publication discovered that there is an electronic system [called] votely.ru, which is being used to monitor turnout among employees at large enterprises in the vote on amendments to the constitution. For example, Russian Post, Rostec, and Rostelecom are connected to the system. Employees at these companies are being given special QR-codes, which are then scanned at polling stations under the pretense of participating in various contests and quizzes. All the data is being entered into the [Votely] system. The experts we interviewed say that this kind of data collection violates the law. We also found out that the system is working on the servers of Russia’s government agencies, using their IP-addresses. Does the [Putin] administration know about the existence of such a system? Is this system connected to the authorities, and will the Kremlin look into how it ended up on the servers of government agencies?

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov: I didn’t understand anything from what you said, I’ll be frank. We don’t know anything about such a system and you should probably contact the departments that you mentioned. I just don’t understand how I could be given a QR-code at work, so that I participate in a draw for something. Now, I work in the presidential administration. I also don’t understand how some Rostec employee could receive a QR-code and so on. How can he be obliged to take a QR-code?! That I simply can’t imagine, therefore I, unfortunately, don’t understand the crux of your question. If you somehow found out about the existence of such a system, then publish.

Meduza: Yes, we have two reports on this topic, [they] even include video instructions for using this system.

Dmitry Peskov: Are you sure this isn’t fake? This is just going on now, you yourself understand. Don’t be like those respected American publications.

Meduza: We received evidence from civil servants from the regions that they are actually being forced to obtain these QR-codes for voting.

Dmitry Peskov: Understood. Well I don’t know if this is [the case] or not, but, supposing that some civil servants were forced to obtain a QR-code in order to participate in voting, this, of course, is something that President Putin would categorically oppose. You heard his statement about the purity of the vote as the main goal. But I am repeating once again, if this is the case.

(C)MEDUZA 2020

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