Video evidence alleges that the Kremlin has distributed special pens with ink that disappears for use in the weekend’s presidential elections, enabling Putin’s United Russia operatives to change votes to those endorsed by Moscow, independent sources reported.

The independent Russian news site Sirena was told by sources in Kursk and Rostov-on-Don who were setting up polling stations ready for the start of today’s presidential election that they were provided with pens to place in polling booths that “contain a secret.” The pens arrived in boxes sealed with the official emblem of Russia’s Central Election Commission.

The sources provided video evidence of how the ink from the pens could be made to disappear which Sirena posted on its Telegram channel. The ink used to mark the voters ballot paper seems normal but can be made to disappear when it is heated.


Blank ballot papers are considered invalid, but by erasing the original selection this would allow commission members to select a candidate of their choice after the polling station is closed – with no prizes for guessing for who that might be.

This is not the first time that this tactic has been noticed.

Ironically it was first encountered in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was won by Viktor Yanukovych before being subsequently overturned.

International observers noted numerous blatant election weaknesses which flouted both Ukrainian and international election laws and standards. In addition to pens filled with disappearing ink, hospital patients were forced to vote in exchange for treatment and students were instructed to show their ballots to professors in exchange for passing grades.

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The Russian news site reports that the tactic has seen widespread use at Russia's regional, parliamentary and other elections since at least 2009. The leader of the Just Russia party in the State Duma, Nikolai Levichev, raised the issue with respect to polling for the Volgograd regional elections that year and produced video evidence of it happening. He was informed by the Central Election Commission that there was no formal, legal prohibition to the use of such ink in polling stations.


The Other Russia opposition group said that during the original ballot count, 285 votes were declared void because they appeared blank. However, when a recount was carried out a week later, at the request of the pro-Kremlin [Putin’s] United Russia party, an extra 206 votes for the United Russia party were discovered, which Levichev said all appeared to have been filled out with the same handwriting.

Other parties, including the Russian Communist Party (CPRF) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), expressed concerns that similar violations were observed in several dozens of polling stations throughout the Volgograd region.

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