Russian people are going to elect new executive head of the nation. The election date is set for 18 March. On the eve of the Presidential election in Russia, Dr Niranjan Ojha, on behalf of the People’s Review and People’s Review Online News Service, interviewed to His Excellency Andrei S. Budnik, Ambassador of the Russian Federation on 12 March. Excerpts of the interview as given below:
Question: The President of Russia elections will be held on March 18, 2018. How would you estimate importance of this event for citizens of the Russian Federation?
Answer: In accordance with the Article 80 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, adopted at national voting on December 12, 1993, the President of the Russian Federation shall be the head of state, guarantor of the Constitution, of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen. According to the rules fixed by the Constitution,the President shall adopt measures to protect the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, its independence and state integrity, ensure coordinated functioning and interaction of all the bodies of state power, determine the guidelines of the internal and foreign policies, represents the Russian Federation within the country and in international relations. Taking into account that the President bears high responsibility while leading our huge multinational and multireligious country with population more than 147 million people, the election of the head of state is undoubtedly the most important domestic political event for Russia and Russian citizens. In view of the President’s direct participation in formation and implementation of our foreign policy and Russia’s role in international affairs, these elections assume greater importance.
Question: What are the basic principles and procedure of the President of Russia elections?
Answer: As is known, by the Resolution of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation No.528-SF of December 15, 2017 the presidential elections are scheduled for March 18, 2018. According to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, it is the upper house of the Russian parliament that is vested with the right to announce the elections of the head of state and to set the voting day. The basic principles of the presidential elections and procedure of Russian citizens’ participation are defined by the Constitution of the Russian Federation of December 12, 1993, the Federal Law of January 10, 2003 No.19-FZ “On the Election of the President of the Russian Federation” and the Federal Law of 12 June 2002 No.67-FZ “On Basic Guaranteed of Electoral Rights and the Right of Citizens of the Russian Federation to Participate in Referendum”, etc. Preparations for the presidential elections are made in full compliance with the Calendar Plan adopted on December 18, 2017. The content of these documents is available at the web-site of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation (the CEC of Russia) – www.cikrf.ru.
According to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the above-mentioned Federal Law of January 10, 2003 No.19-FZ, the President of the Russian Federation shall be elected for six years by citizens of the Russian Federation on the basis of universal, equal, directvoting right by secret ballot. Participation in the presidential elections is free and voluntary. Nobody shall exert any influence on a citizen of the Russian Federation in order to compel him to participate or not to participate in the elections and nobody shall interfere with free expression of a citizen’s will.
Any citizen of the Russian Federation not younger than 35 years of age and with a permanent residence record in our country of not less than 10 years may be elected President of the Russian Federation.The same person may not be elected President of the Russian Federation for more than two terms running. In addition to age and residence qualification, candidates for the office of President of the Russian Federation have to meet a number of other requirements. A citizen is not eligible for the presidency if he or she holds citizenship or residence permit of a foreign state, is recognized by court as legally incapable, is a convict serving a term of imprisonment, has a criminal recordas of a voting day. The CEC of Russia takes decision on eligibility or ineligibility of a citizen, claiming to be a presidential candidate, within 5 days of a respective application submittal.
Candidates for the office of President of the Russian Federation could nominate themselves (by January 7, 2018) or be nominated by political parties (by January 12, 2018). By January 31, 2018 a self-nominated candidate should collect in his/her support and submit to the CEC of Russia not less than 300 thousand voter signatures (not more than 7500 signatures should be collected on the territory of any one Subject of the Russian Federation), and a candidate nominated by political parties – not less than 100 thousand signatures (not more than 2500 signatures – on the territory of any one Subject of the Russian Federation). Then, after verification of submitted signatures by February 10, 2018 the CEC of Russia should take decision on registration of a candidate. The campaigning period should commence from the day of nomination of a candidate and end on March 16, 2018 inclusive. Election campaigning on the channels of TV and radio broadcasting organizations and in the print media should be conducted in the period from February 17, 2018 till March 17, 2018 inclusive. The elections of the President of the Russian Federation shall be conducted in one federal electoral district comprising the entire territory of the Russian Federation. Voters residing outside the territory of the Russian Federation shall be regarded as being included into the federal electoral district.
Question: Who shall be entitled to elect the President of the Russian Federation on the territory of Nepal? Is it necessary to register at the consular division of the Russian Embassy for voting?
Answer: Participation in the election is not connected with consular registration. Many of our fellow citizens live in Nepal not being registered at the consular division of the Russian Embassy. Every citizen of the Russian Federation has the right to take part in the elections. The citizens registered at our consular division have received personal invitations to come to the polling station at the Embassy and cast their votes for candidates. All citizens of the Russian Federation staying in Nepal who have attained to the age of 18 years on voting day shall be entitled to elect the President of the Russian Federation. It concerns both permanent residents of Nepal and those Russian citizens who visit the country for temporary purposes, including tourists, foreign workers, entrepreneurs, international students etc. In Nepal, the polling station No.8235 will be open at the premises of the Russian Embassy (Baluwatar, Kathmandu).
Question: What documents should a Russian voter staying in Nepal present to participate in the President of Russia elections?
Answer: To be eligible to vote a citizen of Russia shall present one of the following valid documents certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship: national passport or ordinary foreign passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation, diplomatic or service passport of the Russian Federation, re-entry certificate to the Russian Federation.
Question: May a Russian citizen staying in Nepal come to the polling station on March 18, 2018 and cast vote without sending prior notification to the Russian Embassy?
Answer: There is no need to inform the Embassy in advance. According to the Article 8 of the Federal Law of January 10, 2003 No.19-FZ, while staying in foreign countries at private invitations, on official business and as tourists citizens of the Russian Federation who are entitled to active suffrage shall be put on the voters list when they come to the premises of a precinct election commission, on the basis of a passport or an equivalent identity paper and an absentee certificate. A citizen of the Russian Federation shall be included in voters lists on the basis of his written application submitted to the relevant election commission before March 12, 2018 or on the basis of an oral application made on voting day.
Question: How is election campaigning conducted in Russia and Nepal?
Answer: Candidates registered by the CEC of Russia may conduct election campaigning in any form allowed by law and by legitimate methods. The state assures the freedom of election campaigning for citizens of the Russian Federation, political parties, other public associations. Equal conditions of access to the mass media are guaranteed by the state for registered candidates to conduct election campaigning. No election campaigning shall be conducted on voting day and a day before. We are ready to display agitation materials at special places on the territory of our electoral precinct in Kathmandu. These materials shall be produced in Russia. During the voting day, only official information about candidates shall be available at polling stations.
Question: How are the presidential elections funded?
Answer: Expenses on the preparation and conduct of the election of the President of the Russian Federation shall be paid from the funds allocated from the federal budget. Candidates shall set up their own electoral funds for financing their election campaign.
Question: How fast shall election results be delivered to Moscow?
Answer: Votes shall be counted immediately after the voting ends, results shall be sent the CEC of Russia at the same day after the approval of the protocol by the precinct election commission.