50 Years Ago: Elections in Russia

On Sunday, December 12th, some 94,000,000 Russian “electors” went to the poll to cast their votes for the 1,100 unopposed candidates chosen for them by the Government to sit in the new two-chamber Parliament, the Council of the Union (569 members), and the Council of Nationalities (574 members). Except in one or two constituencies there was no alternative candidate. so there was no element of choice — opposition parties not being allowed. It was also made plain to the electors that they should not deface the ballot papers or stay away from the polling booth, so the result was almost as much foreseen and prearranged as if the figures had been wholly faked by the authorities.

Russia has changed much since 1918. in which year Lenin, with a Cromwellian gesture, used armed force to disperse the democratically-elected constituent assembly when he found that that body, long demanded by the Bolsheviks and elected under their authority, had a non-Bolshevik majority. In a few more years, in spite of all the scheming of Russia’s rulers, their fraudulent democracy will perhaps be changed into the real thing under the pressure of the electorate.

[From an article “The Russian Election. What is Stalin’s Purpose?” Socialist Standard January 1938.]