MOSCOW, Russia — More than 57.6 million Americans have cast votes in the upcoming midterm primary elections taking place in Nov. 2018, according to Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper. The report came soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin was again re-elected in a landslide.
According to the paper, President Donald J. Trump was among the first to cast a ballot, despite having to be told multiple times that he could not vote for himself. The president praised himself for having the courage to face adversity and, without the need of a translator, told Russian reporters that his fellow Americans should trust his administration and their ability to carry out this election safely.
Top generals at the Russian Ministry of Defense echoed similar views.
“We are working diligently behind the scenes to prevent voter intimidation and fraud," said Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov. "I want to personally assure the American people that the Russian Federation strongly supports democracy, and is taking a multi-tiered approach to protect the integrity of the election. Our ‘poll protectors’ will be so effective you won’t even notice them.”
In response to questions about foreign hackers, Colonel General Yuriy Sadovenko promised the full support of the Russian Special Communication Service in partnership with Kaspersky Labs to secure voting machines from both on-site and remote tampering.
However, despite close monitoring by Election Commission Chairman Ella Pamfilova, some organizations are not convinced. The U.S. based Coalition for Free and Open Elections continues to point out the barriers independent candidates face, such as the inability to get verified on Twitter and lack of an established career in reality TV that restricts their access to broader recognition.
Novaya Gazeta also obtained a comment from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who reiterated that the Russian voter was the freest and most enthusiastic in the world, and that he would continue to work to spread Russian democracy to America following past successes in Crimea and South Ossetia.