The Biden administration released a statement on Monday condemning the Russian elections that saw Vladimir Putin's regime retain their hold on power.
This after surveillance video emerged showing ballot box stuffing in the Russian election. Multiple videos and photos allegedly showing ballot fraud have made their way out of Russia since Friday, according to the AP.
The State Department issued a statement saying that the "September 17-19 Duma elections in the Russian Federation took place under conditions not conducive to free and fair proceedings."
Opponents of Putin's United Russia party claimed that there was "mass fraud" during Monday's election, Reuters reported. United Russia won a parliamentary margin that was bigger than anticipated.
The AP reported that "Over the weekend, election monitors and opposition activists shared photos of thick, folded piles of ballots in transparent ballot boxes that obviously were put in in one piece. Videos from polling surveillance cameras at polling stations showed people trying to shove multiple ballots into boxes, to various degrees of success. There was also footage from several regions of scuffles and confrontations between poll workers and election monitors trying to expose violations."
The Central Election Commission claimed victory for United Russia after 99.9 percent of the ballots were reportedly counted. About 50 percent of the vote went to Putin's party, giving the party a majority. "More than two-thirds of deputies in the 450-seat State Duma lower house of parliament" went to United Russia, Reuters reported, meaning that Putin will be able to push through legislation regardless of opposition.
Concerns with the elections stemmed from the Putin regime's "use of laws on 'extremist organizations,' 'foreign agents,' and 'undesirable organizations' severely restricted political pluralism and prevented the Russian people from exercising their civil and political rights," wrote spokesperson Ned Price.
Putin's government had classified their opposition as "extremists," and in June had made it an offense to have given material support to election candidates. In the lead up to the election, reports from opposition candidates surfaced online claiming that ballots had been printed with multiples candidates sharing their same names in an effort to confuse voters. Dissent was also censored.
The State Department said that there were were "widespread efforts to marginalize independent political figures," and that European election integrity watchdog groups were prevented by Putin "from observing the elections, constricting transparency that is essential to fair elections."
"These actions," Price's statement continued, "contradict Russia’s obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as its commitments to the OSCE and other international and regional bodies."
Golos, a group that has been working to reveal the problems with Russia's election process since 2000, said on Monday that "Violations during the vote and the vote count, the three-day voting procedure and the way the vote count went in some regions, during which, in our opinion, results have been significantly distorted, don’t allow us to talk about the veracity of the results the system of election commission is demonstrating right now," according to the AP.
The Biden administration called "upon Russia to honor its international obligations to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to end its pressure campaign on civil society, the political opposition, and independent media."
"Furthermore," they said in closing, "we do not recognize holding elections for the Russian Duma on sovereign Ukrainian territory and reaffirm our unwavering support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."