The Kremlin showed a video of Putin allegedly voting over the Internet. But this requires a mobile phone, which the president (in his own words) does not have. And how did he manage? Meduza’s Investigation 🕵️‍♂️

On September 17, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin voted for the first time in Russian elections via the Internet. He probably chose this form of expression of will because of the sudden withdrawal to self-isolation : a few days before the elections, Putin announced that many people around him had contracted the coronavirus.

Look carefully: Putin enters his office, approaches a computer with an already running browser, where the login page for the remote electronic voting system is open. Then he types something on the keyboard with one finger, after which the inscription “Thank you, your vote has been taken into account” appears.

And what’s wrong here?

Neither Putin’s hands nor on his desk can be seen another important gadget, without which it was impossible either to register for an Internet vote, or to vote online. This is an ordinary mobile phone with a Russian SIM card. When a voter logs into the voting system, a password is sent to his phone to confirm participation in the voting. Without it, it is impossible to receive a ballot and dispose of your vote. The user is separately asked not to show the password that came in the SMS to anyone.

Theoretically, Putin could have had the phone, for example, in his jacket pocket, but we were not shown the moment when he uses it. But the president has admitted many times that he does not use the telephone at all. The last time he said this publicly was  two weeks ago, on September 3, 2021, during the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.

During recent talks in the Kremlin between the President of the Russian Federation and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Merkel’s mobile phone rang.

The moderator also asked the Russian leader if he has a mobile phone. “No,” Putin admitted.

Are you saying that Putin didn’t actually vote? But what about the inscription “Thank you, your vote has been taken into account”?

We have three explanations:

  1. Putin voted online without breaking the procedure. To participate in Internet voting, the president had to step over himself – to abandon old habits and get a mobile phone. Moreover, he would have to do this before September 13: on that day, registration for remote electronic voting officially ended. If so, the moment when Putin looks at the password on his phone probably just did not make it into the officially published video.
  2. Putin voted online, but the procedure was grossly violated. The president, unlike all other Moscow voters, was not required to enter the password from the phone when entering the system. We do not know how this can be arranged from a technical point of view – but we are sure that such an option is not available to ordinary users.
  3. Putin did not vote on the Internet, and all that was shown to us was a hoax. In theory, to shoot for this video, Putin could not vote at all. The final footage showing the message “Thank you, your vote has been counted!” Cannot be considered reliable evidence that the vote has taken place. See for yourself: a page with such an inscription can be opened by anyone simply by entering this address in their browser.

Don’t miss the Meduza stream, in which our political podcast hosts Andrei Pertsev and Konstantin Gaaze will sum up the election results. 

(C)MEDUZA 2021

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