- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2020

A group of over 300 Russian election officials say they will not contribute to a nationwide election on July 1 on reforms that include extending President Vladimir Putin’s reign until 2036, citing concerns of the spread of coronavirus.

Russians are set to vote on a string of amendments that are part of a package of changes to Russia’s constitution that Mr. Putin, who was expected to step down in 2024 after a quarter-century of de facto rule, sprang on the country two months ago.

Putin allies hustled the measure through the national legislature, and the president made clear that a global pandemic is no reason to delay a popular vote to ratify the changes.

But a group of roughly 350 polling officials now says it is too dangerous to hold the election as the novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country.

The “July 1 vote poses a danger to our lives and health and to the lives and health of voters,” the group said in a statement obtained by Reuters. “We just don’t understand why such sacrifices and risks are needed, why we need to hold such a vote now and at any price. We are not expendable.”

According to Reuters, the show of opposition is unlikely to delay the vote, which is administered by about 1 million officials.

But the complaints are gaining traction among critics who say the election is too rushed and can risk the health and safety of voters.

Russia, which has a population of 144.5 million, has reported over 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 6,522 deaths and 260,649 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide