He discovered the deception when he received the mock-up of a future election poster on Sunday. We see the identity photos of three candidates side by side. And the resemblance is striking: same short pepper and salt beard, same baldness… And same name! Boris Vishnevski, a well-known opponent of the Russian regime, member of the Yabloko party, will therefore be opposed to two other Boris Vishnevski in a regional election scheduled for September 19.
A subterfuge of power aimed, according to him, to confuse voters. “It’s fraud,” criticizes the candidate for election to the St. Petersburg regional parliament. These people participate in the election not to be elected or to present their programs, but to confuse the voters ”.
According to the 65-year-old opponent, these two namesakes even specially changed their name and appearance to confront him. “I was somewhat familiar with one of these namesakes. This is Viktor Bikov, member of the United Russia party (the party in power, Editor’s note). Before becoming Boris Vishnevsk, he did not have a beard, his photo can be found on the party’s website, ”he maintains.
Name changes for the election
According to an investigation by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the second man, a certain Alexeï Shmelev, also changed his name for the election. Contacted Monday by AFP, the first alleged double and the local branch of United Russia did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The second namesake was unreachable.
For her part, when questioned on the subject, the director of the Russian Electoral Commission, Ella Pamfilova, denounced on Monday the use of these lookalikes: “It is making fun of voters. I think it’s just shameful, ”she responded on Kommersant FM radio, while noting that it was not illegal.
During previous elections, the opposition had already denounced the presence of “homonymous” candidates aiming, according to it, to parasitize its candidacies, as well as the creation of political movements intended to divide the protest vote.
The ballot for the renewal of the regional parliament of Saint Petersburg will take place from September 17 to 19, in parallel with the legislative elections. Between economic stagnation and corruption scandals, the Kremlin United Russia party collects, according to the polling institute close to the Vtsiom authorities, only 27.3% of favorable opinions.
It should nevertheless triumph, the critical voices of the Kremlin, who could have benefited from the discontent, having come under increased pressure ahead of the elections. The authorities in particular dismantled the movement of the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny.