Russia's Far East shows high turnout, violations reported
About 9,300 kilometres from Moscow, Vladivostok is the country’s largest port on the Pacific Ocean and the capital of Primorsky Krai, or ‘Maritime province’.
It’s the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet and Navy sailors who were among the first to cast their ballots.
“We live in this country and we can make it better. Our votes can bring changes. If each person comes and votes, something may change in this country,” one of the marines said.
Anne-Marie Lizin, Vice-Chairman of the OSCE Parliament, and an observer of the election said, “We specially chose this area because young military specialists and navy men will be voting in the same polling station here.”
She said they chose Vladivostok “to be sure that the whole area of Russia, which is a huge country, is covered by the OSCE election monitoring team”.
“In Vladivostok we have four teams today moving around the city and the suburbs,” she said.
The region shares similar problems with most of Russia.
“Our top problem is low pensions, which are below the living wage. Meanwhile, there are half a million pensioners in the region and all of them are concerned over the issue,” Sergey Dvorkin, the Governor of the Primorsky Krai said.
However, problems in Vladivostok are not the same as the rest of the country.
“I last flew to Moscow in 1989. Of course, I would like this to happen more often. But tickets are very expensive and you can’t fly to Moscow just for fun,” one of the locals complains.