Abkhaz, S. Ossetian Leaders Vote in Russian Duma Elections

Moscow-backed Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania voted at Russian State Duma elections on September 19, while Anatoly Bibilov, occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia leader cast a ballot on September 17.  

Abkhaz ‘prime minister’ Alexander Ankvab, top Abkhaz diplomat Daur Kove, as well as Tskhinvali ‘parliament speaker’ Alan Tadtaev also participated in Russian legislative elections.

“This is my civic duty,” Aslan Bzhania, who holds both Russian and occupied region’s citizenships, told reporters.  

Around 13 thousand people went to vote in nine precincts in occupied Abkhazia, where approximately 200 thousand persons among roughly 245 thousand inhabitants are estimated to possess Russian citizenship.

In Tskhinvali region, with its population estimated to be around 50 thousand, turnout was over 11.000, including about 3,500 Russian servicemen stationed in the occupied territory. 

In Tskhinvali region, the voting lasted for three days, while early voting organized for the 4th Russian military base servicemen took place during September 3-16. Overall, ten polling stations operated in the region, with six stations in Tskhinvali town, including the military base precinct, and remaining four in Java, Kornisi, Akhalgori and Kvaisi.

Tskinvali based RES news agency said the Russian Central Election Commission “attached residents of South Ossetia with Russian citizenship to the Trans-Baikal Territory, to the Chita constituency” in faraway Siberia.

Russian citizens voted for State Duma for a five-year term, as Kremlin’s most outspoken critics were barred from participating in elections.

With 95% of ballots counted, pro-Putin United Russia party received nearly 50%, followed by the Communist Party with 19.2%, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s the Liberal Democratic Party 7.48%, A Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth – 7.43%, and New People – 5.4%. For the first time since 1993, OSCE did not send observers in Russia citing limitations from the Russian authorities.


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