St. Petersburg police completely ignored an attack on an election monitor inside a polling station, even though it happened right before their eyes
Last Sunday, as Russians across the country cast ballots in local races, election commission members were attacked at two polling stations in St. Petersburg. Georgy Medvedinsky, a member of the № 1619 precinct commission with a consultative vote, says he was jumped in the street, near his polling station. After the elections were over, the watchdog group “Petersburg Observers” published video footage of another attack inside precinct 1619 itself.
In surveillance footage from the polling station, a man walks up to election commission member Vasily Dyachenko at 3:25 p.m. and gut-punches him without warning. Despite witnessing the attack and hearing Dyachenko cry out in pain, other members of the election commission initially ignored the incident. Eventually, a woman approaches Dyachenko to find out what happened.
The election monitor told Meduza that the assault occurred after he complained to election commission chairwoman Irina Yanikovskaya about the incorrect filing of certain voter lists, pointing out that the pages weren’t numbered, as required by law. Afterwards, several men also present at the polling station started trying to intimidate Dyachenko, who says his attacker was one of the people Yanikovskaya previously introduced as a fellow election commission member with a consultative vote.
A senior police lieutenant also witnessed Dyachenko being punched. Surveillance footage shows that she turned her head to watch him hobble away from his attacker, but she didn’t even rise from her chair or try in any way to apprehend the assailant. A short while later, the officer stepped aside to talk on the phone. Dyachenko eventually approached the senior lieutenant and her colleague, and asked why they ignored his assault. The two officials refused to identify themselves or even speak to him.
Shortly after the incident, the Federal News Agency (a media outlet with suspected ties to oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin and his infamous “troll factory”) published a news report citing an anonymous police source, stating that Dyachenko never appealed to law enforcement. In the story, election commission chairwoman Irina Yanikovskaya also claims that no attack took place at her polling station.
Dyachenko confirmed to Meduza that he hasn’t yet filed a formal police report, explaining that he first wanted to obtain the polling station’s surveillance footage and get a doctor to examine his injuries. He shared the results of his physical with Meduza, which show that he suffered blunt trauma to his abdomen and a contusion of the anterior abdominal wall. Dyachenko is now consulting with lawyers to determine the best way to phrase his police report.
Gubernatorial election results at the polling station monitored by Dyachenko differ strongly from other precincts in the same district. At station № 1619, Alexander Beglov won 59.9 percent of the votes, while the acting governor averaged 76.5 percent of the votes cast throughout the district. At some polling stations Beglov won as much as 80 or even 90 percent of the vote.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock