Electoral Integrity and Malpractice in Russia and Beyond: New Challenges and Responses
25-26 October 2021
The recent populist turn and rise of ‘fake news’, spiced by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in new and old democracies spurred a number of concerns in academic and expert communities. Are existing democratic institutions fool-proof enough to protect societies from undermining citizens’ trust in political institutions and sliding back to more authoritarian political set-ups? Transparent and uncompromised elections still remain the essential feature of any democracy and serve as the major channel of selecting political leadership in established and new democracies. Over the last five years, the Russian government has mastered the art of rigging domestic elections to such an extent that it has recently become a major ‘exporter’ of electoral malpractice. Expanded use of mass media and internet-technologies in the past decade has brought the spread of electoral malpractice to a new level. This phenomenon challenges trust in electoral institutions in Russia and beyond. Electoral integrity has been accosted by not only intentional malpractice but also by unintended technological mishaps and public misperception of electoral processes transmitted by mass media.
The upcoming workshop ‘Electoral Integrity and Malpractice in Russia and Beyond: New Challenges and Responses’. The workshop aims to discuss the following questions: does information about compromised electoral integrity affect citizens’ trust in political institutions in post-communist countries? How and why do technologies of electoral malpractice travel from one country to another? For instance, from Russia to neighboring countries, such as Belarus after the large-scale protest in August-September 2020. How does this affect political behaviors such as protesting, voting, or abstention from voting? How can adverse political effects of electoral malpractice and, more specifically, negative presentations of elections in mass media possibly be prevented?