The birth of «Observers in Action»

The Russian election observation mission within the framework of the project «Observers in Action» (OiA) was inspired by the innovative program of video monitoring of the presidential election in Russia, which was carried out remotely by 25 volunteers from Poland on March 18, 2018. The idea of this program belonged to Mateusz Bajek, Maciej Zaniewicz and Karol Bijoś. Then in May 2018, following the success of the March project, and bearing in mind the possible financial support within the framework of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum grant competitions, the idea of creating the «Observers in Action» project arose. The grant for the project was approved in July 2018 and the work started.


The project team OiA consists of: Zosia Lutkiewicz, Natasza Aleksandra Skupińska, Robert Lech, Mateusz Bajek, Adam Sawicki and Karol Bijoś. More than that, they are actively supported by their partners: ePaństwo foundation and Code4Romania.



An independent expert on political funding, monitoring of election campaigns and prevention of corruption.

Adam was an employee in several non-governmental organizations. He worked as a coordinator, analyst and trainer in national and international projects related to elections, including monitoring of election campaigns and analyses of legal regulations. He was also an analyst during the OSCE / ODIHR election observation mission. Adam is co-founder of the Responsible Politics Foundation.



Head of the Political Accountability Foundation. Initiator and chief coordinator of the Observers in Action project.

Karol is an election observer specializing in the socio-economic analysis of the post-Soviet area. He is an author of educational programs in the field of social and international election monitoring. He initiated and coordinated the program “Young election observers”, organized by the Polish Forum of Young Diplomats. He is also a former coordinator of the working group at the EU-Russia Civil Forum, a long-term and short-term observer of OSCE / ODIHR missions and co-organizer of educational exchanges of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE). He graduated from the Centre for East European Studies at the University of Warsaw.



A participant of several international election observation missions, including ODIHR / OSCE. He is an author of the analysis "How to cheat Belarusian voters. Report of the Polish observer ", in which he showed examples of electoral fraud in the Belarusian presidential election.

Mateusz was an initiator of video observation of the Russian presidential election in March 2018, during which Polish observers discovered over 4000 votes falsified in 3 regions of Russia. He graduated University of Warsaw (International Relations and East-Slavic studies). He had an internship in St. Petersburg State University. Mateusz specializes in the statistical analysis of elections and in the mechanisms of using election irregularities and their impact on election results.



A fan of election observation since 2015. Particularly interested in the media aspect.

Ola is a chairwoman of the Representative Office of the Regional Forum of Young Diplomats in Warsaw. For two years, she has been professionally connected with the Centre of International Relations and the Centre for Dialogue and Analysis THINKTANK. Since 2011 she has been involved in the activities of the third sector. Her education was connected a little with Arab studies and a little with Belarusian ones. She graduated from the Faculty of National Security at the European Academy of Diplomacy.



A graduate of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Warsaw and Master of Business Studies at the SIMI (Scandinavian International Management Institute) in Copenhagen.

Robert worked in many international organizations (including the World Bank) as a financial consultant and project manager. In 1996-2001, he assisted during OSCE missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in Kosovo as an election observer, and in 2002 he began working in observation missions organized by the OSCE / ODIHR and the European Union. He has participated in almost 30 missions in Europe, Asia and Africa. He currently provides trainings for election observers in Poland in the frames of the programs of the International Foundation "Solidarity", as well as he works as an advisor and manager for small and medium-sized enterprises in Poland and abroad.



A graduate of European Studies faculty at the University of Edinburgh and European interdisciplinary studies (Eastern regions) at the College of Europe in Natolin.

She has participated in numerous internships in governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the European External Action Service, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Moscow and the Open Society Foundations. She has participated in online election observation mission in Russia as part of the project “Young Election Observers - Forum of Young Diplomats”. She has successfully completed trainings for OSCE / ODIHR election observers organized by the International Solidarity Foundation. On a daily basis, Zosia coordinates the aid programme dedicated to Belarusian NGOs at the Stefan Batory Foundation.

Initiative and financing

The project OiA is based on three elements:

  • Providing the full training for future observers and observation of local government elections in Poland with them (October 2018),
  • Providing the full training on video observation as well as conducting the video observation of the Russian election itself
  • creating standards and methodology for video election observation as a new form of evaluation of the electoral process.

The initiator of the OiA and its main contributor is the Political Accountability Foundation, which carried out activities related to the observation of local government election in Poland on October 21, 2018 in cooperation with Code4Romania and the e-State Foundation.

The project «Observers in Action» is financed by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. The funds are allocated by the European Commission. OiA is a direct continuation of the "Young Election Observers" project supported by EU-Russia Civil Society Forum and organized by the Forum of Young Diplomats.

Our observers

Our wealth - volunteers interested in Russia and elections

The project's success would not have been possible without the involvement of several dozen volunteers from all over Poland. In two recruitment rounds, we managed to find over 70 people who afterwards devoted their free time to participate in trainings in order to become observers, and then they successfully observed the course of the voting day in polling stations situated in remote and little-known regions of Russia (some of them managed to observe the voting process in up to 10 polling stations).

Among our volunteers there are students as well as employees of universities, non-governmental organizations and analytical centres. For many of them video-observation of the Russian presidential election was the first contact with election observation in general, although in some cases there were experienced observers who worked as Core-Team members during ODIHR and EU missions.

Volunteers most often indicated the possibility of getting to know Russia better and the innovation of video observation as their motivation to take part in the project. If you want to find out about their reaction after watching the recordings from the Russian electoral commissions, we are encouraging you to read their statements, which we are placing under each of the polling stations analysed by us.

Not the first project

Observers in Action is not the first project during which we discover electoral irregularities

The idea of thorough analysis of the records made during the Russian presidential election in March 2018 in the frame of the «Observers in Action» project was born thanks to the experience that we gained, firstly, by observing the election to the State Duma in September 2016, were we focused on social media role. And secondly, by the fact that we already monitored (online broadcasting) this very same presidential election in March 2018 during the election day. Let us tell you more about the online video observation during the very day of election and what we have found.

On the day of presidential elections in Russia, 25 Polish volunteers were watching online what was going on in 11 polling stations in 3 Russian regions during the 12 hours (Kabardino-Balkar Republic, The Republic of Tatarstan and Penza Oblast).

So, what were our results? In 6 of the 11 electoral polling stations we observed the difference between the numbers of official turnout and the real turnout that we counted (we counted every person who came near the ballot box and threw his ballot there) was up to 4000! However, we must admit that in the rest five polling stations there were no such irregularities. The results of our observation were used in the first quite illustrative video: Russian Presidential Election - PEC 240 Kabardino-Balkaria summary.

The results of the entire campaign organized by the Political Accountability Foundation and proved to be so interesting that the material on this subject can be found in 5 languages. In English the text can be read on the Vsquare web page, in Polish - on the Newsweek Polska web page, in Czech - on web page, and in Hungarian - on the Atlaszto web page. Our text was popular to the extent that it also appeared in the Russian network in the Ursa-TM translators forum.