Eesti Elu
Does Russia have the wherewithal or credibility to comment on Scotland’s independence referendum?
Rahvusvahelised uudised 26 Sep 2014 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Laas Leivat
Russia has used naked aggression against Ukraine and but still refers to the use of some referendum to solve the conflict. With the constant noise of Putin’s propaganda machine in the background it’s interesting to see the workings of a referendum vote in the United Kingdom.

It’s universally accepted that the Scots have a basic right to voice their collective opinion through a democratically run referendum. Irrespective of the outcome, the process itself testifies to the authentic workings of democracy. Many Estonians have surely thought about having had such an opportunity during the Soviet occupation. Then the most ‘Sovietized’ individual would have seen the immense gap between the U.K.’s principled-based undertaking and a Soviet controlled referendum.

It’s natural for Estonians to support the right to self-determination for any indigenous people. This stance has been formed from years of historical experience for Estonians. But equally important, if not more vital, is the integrity and promise of the process itself. An example would be a referendum on continuation within the European Union. Member states feel self-assured knowing that any referendum, in the democratic setting that is Europe, could be conducted without falsifications, with the results being honoured no matter the size of the country.

Referendums evoke an inevitable mixture of rational and emotional reactions. Thus it was no surprise that a polling expert, Igor Borisov, has dismissed the Scottish Independence referendum process. Borisov, a former chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission, a government body, claimed that the poll failed to stand up to basic international standards. Borisov, now representing the Russian Public Institute for Election Rights had travelled to Scotland to observe the local procedures.

Specifically he said that the poll was open to rigging comparable to that of Estonia. The substance of this observation is unclear. (It’s interesting to note that Western monitoring groups including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OECD) have consistently reaffirmed the legitimacy of the numerous elections held in Estonia.) Borisov criticised the large hangars where votes were tallied as being too large to scrutinize the procedures and that ballot boxes were lying around without any security. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 26. septembri paberlehes)
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