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By Nonna Chernyakova

Six months after the presidential elections, Vadim Khasanov is still trying to get his day in court.

The policeman from Primorye's Kirovsky district is struggling to annul the voting results in three polling stations where, he says, there were many violations of the law and direct falsification in favor of Vladimir Putin's candidacy.

"The courts are very reluctant to deal with such cases," Khasanov recently told The Moscow Times.

A secretary of the district's Communist Party, Khasanov regularly comes to Vladivostok to report on his struggle to the regional party bosses.

"I want to make sure that during the next elections everything is done according to the law," said Khasanov, who is planning to run in municipal elections slated for late December.

"We understand that there is no way the election in the entire country will be invalidated," said Alexander Reznichenko, the secretary of the regional Communist Party organization. "But we want fair elections and working laws."

The far eastern Primorye region has 1,576,187 registered voters. Just under 1 million ballots were cast in the March elections, of which 983,320 were reported to be valid, and 9,866 were mismarked.

The final results showed that the two main candidates - Vladimir Putin and Communist Gennady Zyuganov - were fairly close. Putin ended up with 40.16 percent (398,910 votes), and Zyuganov got 35.86 percent (356,161 votes). But Reznichenko said that about 8 percent of the votes cast for Zyuganov were stolen by the local elections commissions and added to Putin's tally.

Thus far only the Communists are calling for justice. Vladimir Nikiforov, Primorye's Yabloko party representative, said his observers didn't register any obvious infringements of the law during the presidential elections. "Yavlinsky took 8 percent in Primorye, and 13 percent in Vladivostok. We thought it was a lot."

"They [the Communists] use loud words, such as falsification, but no one has brought real arguments to the courts," said Yevgeny Khrustalyov, deputy chairman of Primorye regional elections commission.

This is not true, said Reznichenko, who is a member of the regional elections commission. Khasanov's struggle is an example of the court's reluctance to examine these issues, but the materials pointing to the alleged violations are very serious:

At polling station No. 1047 in the village of Gornye Klyuchi, after an elections commission left its polling station to finalize and sign the protocol, the local citizens found some torn - and thus invalidated - ballots for Zyuganov. At the polling station No. 1049 in the same village, 18 extra ballots were found, but they all were mismarked.

At polling station No. 1033 in the village of Rodnikovy, a legitimate member of the commission, who was a Communist, was not allowed to do his job. Instead of him, a stranger was invited to count the ballots. This stranger was a relative of a member of the commission, which is illegal.

So far both the district and the regional court have declined to hear Khasanov's lawsuit against the territorial elections commission. In a letter to Khasanov, the district prosecutor wrote there were no serious infringements of the law. Besides, he wrote, Khasanov is only following his party bosses' instructions.

Khasanov found more evidence and appealed again.

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