Minsk: Rayon administrations conceal information about membership of precinct election commissions

2008 2008-08-26T13:38:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”



Formation of precinct election commission ended almost two weeks ago, on August 13th. However, all interested parties of the election campaign still do not have complete information about members of Minsk precinct commissions.

After August 13th when interested citizens, representatives of political parties and non-governmental organizations called rayon administrations to find out if their representatives had become commission members, they received similar answers: “You can read that in the press”. The only exclusion was organizational department of Savetski rayon administration: a representative of the Party of Communists of Belarus from election district # 106 made an inquiry and received all information he needs. Practice has shown, it is very difficult to receive information about all precinct commissions from Minsk press. A group of enthusiasts tried to do that in a joint effort and encountered the following:

Where they looked

The city newspaper Minski Kuryer, founded by Minsk city executive committee, did not publish the data on precinct election commission. On August 15th lists of precinct election commissions were printed in the editions of rayon administrations of the city. However, not all citizens have free access to these editions. In some cases, they were available only for members of district commissions.

Firstly, the circulation of such editions is 1, 000 copies per rayon. Secondly, it turned out that only three editions like that “Vesti Pervomaiskogo Rayona", “Minski Meredian” (published by Kastrychnitski administration), and Frunzenski Vestnik come out regularly and are distributed through subscription. One could easily buy only “Vesti Pervomaiskogo Rayona", “Minski Meredian” in Minsk kiosks. The volunteers managed to obtain Vestnik Sovetskogo Rayona only after their inquiry with the ideological department of Savetski administration. Obtaining Frunzenski Vestnik turned out to be more complicated. The newspaper was not found in kiosks. When volunteers addressed newspaper’s editor-in-chief Andrei Kuzmin directly, he refused to present an issue of August 15th, where lists of precinct commissions were published. Kuzmin even allowed looking through the newspaper only after permission of Barys Vasilyeu, head of Frunzenski administration.

The August issue of Vesti Moskovskogo Rayona reached the voters on its own. The newspaper was distributed to mailboxes in districts # 99 and # 100. However, instead of information about members of precinct election commissions it published materials that could easily be considered agitation for pro-governmental contenders – the report of incumbent MP Karpenka (runs in district # 100) and interview of contender in district # 99 Shylava. The lists of commission members of Maskouski rayon were published as a separate brochure of unknown circulation. The brochure is not available for ordinary citizens.

The volunteers still did not manage to obtain periodical editions founded by administrations of Zavodski, Partyzanski, and Centralny rayons.

What they found

When volunteers read the lists of precinct election commissions published by rayon press, it became obvious that the voters were limited not only in the access to the information sources but also directly in the volume of data about commission members. There is no information about commission members besides their full names. Jobs, places of work and nomination ways were not indicated.

Even quick review of the lists makes it clear why the bodies that created precinct commissions did not try to deliver the information to the public in the proper way.

For instance, precinct election commission # 222 has the following members: S. L. Kostsina (organized signature collection for the pro-governmental candidate), T. V. Rubakha – principal of school # 194; N. A. Salavei, deputy principal of school # 194; I. V. Sinitskaya – teacher of school # 194. 

Analysis of the lists of precinct commissions in district # 97 has shown, the commissions consist of many managers of different levels of Integral state company. For instance, in precinct # 96 there is unit manager A. F.Martsinovich; in precinct # 200 – deputy head of personnel department L. Zhuk; in precinct # 201 – deputy unit manager A. Karastseliou and deputy CEO of “Tranzistar” plamt S. Poka; in precinct # 206 shop superintendent S. Stromski; in precinct # 209 – procurement engineer L. Zhydalovich, head of personnel department A. Korzun; and in precinct # 210 – mechanical operator of plant # 3 V. Biruk, marketing officer Yu. Zhuk, head of economic planning department S. Mikhalevich, and shop superintendent V. Trukhan. Such a spread network of managers of one industrial association in precinct commissions of one district can not be accidental. We will not be surprised if it turns out that these people have been elected chairs of their commissions. Their “mission” is evident: to provide for success of “official” contender A. Kazlou in Kastrychnitskaya district. Kazlou occupies the post of deputy CEO for personnel policy of the “Integral” company. We have mentioned active but unlawful efforts of Kazlou’s team in our previous reports.

It is clear that such “discoveries” are not the exclusion in Minsk. Had the local authorities had nothing to hide, they would have presented information about the precinct commissions without any obstacles.

“Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”