who count the votes decide an election

The issue toward correct and proper votes calculation has been arisen since the first forms of elections appeared. However, was it really so meaningful to the one-party system in the USSR? And could Joseph Stalin consider and publicly share his thoughts proving that “people who count the votes decide an election“? These are the questions this post will try to answer on. 

who count the votes decide an election

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To be honest, I intended to include this story as an additional paragraph to my previous article revealed who and at which circumstances have said the aphorism “The death of millions is a tragedy”. However, in consideration of the article’s length and domain topic, one more revelation toward Stalin’s figure was singles out into a separate post.

In continuation of the previous quote investigations, we move further to a statement “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do”. According to the websource brainyquote.com, the phrase above is related to what Stalin had said, however, even for me, it seems quite irrelevant considering the elective system of the USSR at Stalin’s ruling.

Election in the Soviet Union

Voting for trotskist block
Voting for the right-trotskist block (1938)

In the USSR (1922-91) all the elections for regional and municipal Soviet departments were non-alternative as all the candidates represented the one and only communist bloc and were confirmed by administration in advance. The citizens could theoretically vote for or against the candidate, however, the cases of non-election were unique. The presence of electorate converged to almost 100% due to several reasons – mass agitation, strong belief in communism mixed with fear against the party…

So, you probably understand why this would look unfitting to the reality for me. Counting the votes in the USSR? There was no other God and truth, but the party and its leader. No one had a choice. However, in this system, people responsible for the elections also did not get a hard work to do with votes’ counting.

Napoleon III the Originator

Napoleon III
Napoleon III (painted by Auguste Boulard)

Anyways, all of the above makes me think that these words of vote count could be said by Stalin only with regard to the other economies and states. One of the researchers claims that Stalin was talking about the “bourgeois countries” in this context by rephrasing the famous quote of Napoleon III. Napoleon III initially pronounced that after just another plebiscite – so, he can be considered the originator of this statement (if one more disproving source will not be discovered, of course ;)).

However, talking about Stalin’s interpretation, the first reference to his speech was made in the memoirs of a French-based defector Boris Bazhanov, Stalin’s personal assistant in 1923-28. Boris cited his head:

“Comrades, – says Stalin, – here is what I am thinking about this issue: I believe, this is absolutely unnecessary, who and how in the party will vote. By contrast, what is extremely essential is who and how will count these votes”

Even though some of the researchers have granted such possibility, many of them are doubting if Stalin had mentioned these compromising words in public.

Datalypse between lines

P.S. I highly recommend the entire book “The Black Obelisk”. You can order by clicking this banner:


The other books concerning the topic of this post are also very demanding! Check them out:

  • Remarque E.M. “All Quiet On The Western Front
    The book describes the German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.



  • Antonov-Ovseyenko A. “The Time of Stalin: Portrait of a Tyranny
    An extraordinary book of historical revelation, a searing criminal indictment, told from the inside of Soviet history by the witness of repressions and former prisoner of GULAG.





Datalypse between lines


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