Nashi Spinoff Operating Exit Polls

Up to 20,000 activists from Nashi Vybory, a spinoff from the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi, will conduct exit polls nationwide during Sunday's State Duma vote.

"Dec. 2 is a test both for us and for the youth of Russia," Olesya Pelageina, the group's spokeswoman, said Wednesday, explaining that Nashi Vybory had been out trying to encourage young people to vote since June.

Two other bodies will be polling voters Sunday: the state-run All-Russia Center for Public Opinion Monitoring, or VTsIOM, and the Public Opinion Foundation, or FOM, which also has strong ties to the state.

Nashi Vybory, or "Our Elections," cooperates with one party -- United Russia -- and supports the course of President Vladimir Putin, yet remains completely independent, Pelageina said.

It is an independent entity from Nashi, she said.

Because Nashi is a volunteer movement, carrying out the polling will not require any funding, Pelageina said.

She added that local authorities were providing rooms in municipal buildings as operational centers for the polling activities free of charge.

As for the training and know-how to sample the voting accurately, experienced public opinion analysts will be on hand to check the results of the exit polls, Pelageina said.

Three activists will be on hand for Sunday's vote at each of more than 1,200 polling stations in 53 regions. The rest will provide "operational support" at regional headquarters, she said.

VTsIOM, which is working for Channel One television and has the largest financial and organizational resources of the three pollsters, will send two or three interviewers to each of 1,200 polling stations in 57 regions, according to information on its web site.

It hopes to have managed to talk to 120,000 voters after they have cast their ballots by Sunday evening and will hand preliminary results to the television channel, which will announce them after 9 p.m.

FOM, classified as a noncommercial organization, will poll around 80,000 voters, said Veronika Perevezentseva, its spokeswoman.

The independent Levada Center, as usual, will not be at the polls because it does not have the "huge resources" required, said Oleg Savelev, its spokesman.

"Its too complex and expensive a process," Savelev said. "It requires expenditures somewhere in the millions of dollars, not rubles."

Asked about Nashi Vybory's plans, he labeled the exercise "a big show."