Russian teacher who reported vote fraud on trial

May 16, 2012, 6:26 PM

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) – A teacher went on trial Wednesday after publicly claiming that she was pressured to help rig Russia’s parliamentary election to boost the results for Vladimir Putin’s party.

Like many teachers and principals in Russia, Tatyana Ivanova was in charge of a polling station set up in the school where she worked.

She accused Natalya Nazarova, an education department official in St. Petersburg, of pressuring her and other poll workers to falsify the vote and instructing them on how to do it.

Ivanova now faces charges of damaging the education official’s professional reputation and, if found guilty, could be ordered to pay compensation of up to 100,000 rubles, or about $3,300.

Putin’s United Russia party won the December election and managed to cling to its majority in parliament, although observers reported widespread fraud. Anger over the manipulated vote set off a series of mass protests against Putin, the first he had faced in more than 12 years in power.

Putin returned to the Kremlin after winning a third presidential term in March, but he still faces an opposition eager to challenge his centralized control and push for free and fair elections.

Ivanova has seen an outpouring of public support, and dozens of her backers were in the courtroom on Wednesday.

“Millions of people in Russia are on your side,” Grigory Yavlinsky, the veteran leader of a liberal opposition party, told Ivanova before the hearing.

“The falsifying of election results has been going on in Russia for the last 16 years,” Yavlinsky said later in an interview with The Associated Press. “And this case demonstrates that society has finally realized how serious this problem is in the country.”

Ivanova, a 53-year-old teacher of Russian language and literature, is one of the few poll workers who have been willing to speak publicly about the pressure they faced during the election. Her story was published in the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

“Maybe it was not a rational action, but at least it was not a cowardly one. I did it because I was too disgusted to falsify the vote, and I did it for my students, so that they would know that such things are wrong,” Ivanova told the AP ahead of her trial.

Ivanova said she and the heads of other polling stations were told to add as many as 200 votes for United Russia and were offered money for their services. Some others also refused to falsify the vote, she said, but only one of them has agreed to testify in her support.

“People are afraid of losing their jobs,” said Ivanova, who was close to retirement age and quit her job as a result of the scandal.

Nazarova did not attend Wednesday’s hearing and her lawyer refused to comment.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
25 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
26 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
26 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Russian teacher who reported vote fraud on trial