This New York Times story is about a Russian local election, in which the incumbent Mayor of a small town wanted an easy re-election, but he also wanted the election to look genuine, so he recruited a janitor to run against him. To everyone’s shock, the janitor won.
The story says Russia is a “managed democracy”, where “elections take place on schedule, but the incumbent virtually never loses. To achieve this, the police squelch real political opposition, and election commissions bump promising candidates off the ballot with technicalities.”
When that happens in the United States, the Times in recent years has not expressed any complaint. This year, when miniscule technicalities kept Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins off the ballot in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the Times either ignored the story, or its news coverage was supportive of the candidate’s removal. In Wisconsin, Hawkins was kept off the ballot because his running mate moved during the petition drive and some of their petitions had the old address listed. In Pennsylvania, a form was faxed in to the Elections Office instead of being attached to the petition. This year, the Green Party was also kept off the ballot in Montana for all office, after Democratic officials invented a procedure to ask voters to retract their signatures that did not exist in the election law, and courts then removed the Green Party. The Times did not cover the Montana story.