Last week, Vladimir Churov, head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, offered his personal study of U.S. elections. Not only was the American president elected by “the so-called Electoral College,” he reported, the United States was so busy taking up the role of worldwide “master of destinies,” it was ignoring guaranteeing U.S. citizens their rights.

Getting down to the real dirt, he reported that voting rules are left to the states, which can distort them any way they like because they operate without the benefit of an all-powerful central commission, such as Russia’s. Fraud is extensive, with 2.75 million Americans registered to vote in two or more states at one time and 1.8 million registered voters actually dead, he said. (The figures come from a Pew study citing messiness, not fraud.)

This horrifying view of the American electoral process is hardly new. In 2000, Alexander Veshnyakov, Churov’s predecessor, visited the United States to watch Americans elect their president. He was introduced to some new vocabulary, such as hanging chads. He found his visit to Chicago particularly illuminating, unearthing lurid tales of the dead voting, the living bribed and ballot boxes stuffed.