Nomads and sailors get chance to vote

Millions of Russians are flooding to polling booths to have their say about the country’s direction. A small percentage of votes, from abroad and remote areas, were cast early but more than hundred million votes are expected on Sunday.

Helicopters brought Election Commission officers with ballot boxes to the country’s extreme north.

They had to land at every tent to collect the votes of some 8,000 nomads scattered with their deer herds across the vast expanse of tundra.

To reach some settlements in the Arkhangelsk region election officers had to take risks crossing a frozen river. “Some villages are quite far from the polling station. Most of the residents here are elderly people, and it is difficult for them to come by themselves,” explains election officer Vera Sivkova.

Sailors at sea on Sunday also managed to vote ahead of schedule at polling stations especially set up onboard. As soon as ballots were taken out of the boxes the results were sent over to shore-based election offices via satellite or radio communication.

Russian servicemen on duty in remote areas and abroad – such as Armenia and Tajikistan – voted in November.

Ballot boxes were also delivered to Russian peacekeepers serving in Sudan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester.
Russian specialists working abroad and at polar stations and those away on holiday also had an opportunity to vote early. In some countries the poll is organised over two days to make it more convenient for Russians and to avoid long queues on Sunday.

The results of the early vote, however, will be made public after 9 p.m. Moscow time on December 2, when the parliamentary vote in Russia finishes.