After the results of the September 18 Duma elections were confirmed, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the members of the newly-elected Russian parliament in the Kremlin. During this meeting, Putin praised the new election process as a free expression of the will of citizens.
On September 23, Putin held a meeting with the head of the Russian Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova. “You properly accomplished your task and provided an honest and competitive struggle between political parties that allowed the citizens of our country to express their will by voting,” Putin told Pamfilova. He added that "the overwhelming majority of participants in the election process, the observers and, most importantly the Russian people saw the election as unbiased and legitimate.”
Pamfilova, though, acknowledged that there were problems in the election, saying in her meeting with Putin: “Of course, we made mistakes and I see them...Our analysis shows that there were very serious violations at the district level.”
Research and data provided by independent analysts and several videos of alleged mass forgery posted by Russian bloggers make a strong case that the statements made by the Russian president are false.
Reuters reporters taking random samples of polling stations found large discrepancies between the number of voters Reuters counted and the official number of votes counted at the stations. At one polling place, a Reuters reporter cast a ballot for a party other than United Russia and the official count recorded that no one at that station had voted for any part besides United Russia.
An international monitoring group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the Duma election, concluded that “democratic commitments continue to be challenged and the electoral environment was negatively affected by restrictions to fundamental freedoms and political rights, firmly controlled media and a tightening grip on civil society.”
One well-known Russian political analyst, Sergey Shpilkin, who has been using data from the Russian Central Election Commission to analyze Russian elections since 1996, says he is certain of massive fraud. His data from the election shows higher-than-average turnout for United Russia.
Shpilkin, winner of the 2012 independent Polit-Prosvet award for political analysis, said in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “By my estimate, the scope of the falsification in favor of United Russia in these elections amounted to approximately 12 million votes.”