Sergey Shpikin is an independent electoral researcher. A physicist by training, after graduating from Moscow State University he worked as a researcher at the All-Union Center for Surface and Vacuum Research and then at the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is also a journalist who has contributed numerous bylined and edited articles to various IT magazines (1994–2002) and, more recently, articles on electoral statistics and election fraud, which have been published in major Russian and international mass media outlets.
Shpilkin specializes in statistics, data collection, and analysis. Since 2007 he has collected, published, and analyzed precinct-level election data and other relevant information on the federal elections in Russia. In 2007 he proposed a method for estimating the prevalence of ballot stuffing based on voter turnout histograms, and he produced the first nationwide estimates of election fraud during the 2007 and 2008 elections. He also discovered the integer percentage anomaly in the distribution of precincts by turnout.
Since then he has published on his LiveJournal blog and in various media analyses of the 2009 municipal elections in Moscow, the 2011 and 2012 federal elections, and the 2013 Moscow mayoral elections. These publications spurred civic activity around elections research and electoral observation and became one of the drivers of the 2011–2012 civic movement in Russia.
Shpilkin is the recipient of the 2012 PolitProsvet prize for electoral research from the Liberal Mission Foundation and the 2012 Advocate of Free Elections medal from the Golos Association.
- Dmitry Kobak, Sergey Shpilkin, and Maxim S. Pshenichnikov. 2012. “Statistical anomalies in 2011–2012 Russian elections revealed by 2D correlation analysis.” Physics and Society [physics.soc-ph], last revised May 17, 2012.
- Dmitry Kobak, Sergey Shpilkin, and Maxim S. Pshenichnikov. 2016. Integer percentages as electoral falsification fingerprints. Annals of Applied Statistics 10 (1), 54-73, doi: 10.1214/16-AOAS904.
- Dmitry Kobak, Sergey Shpilkin, and Maxim S. Pshenichnikov. 2016. “Statistical fingerprints of electoral fraud?” Significance 13 (4), doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2016.00936.x.
Publications in the general press (in Russian):
- Sergey Shpilkin, “Statistical analysis of 2007–2009 Russian elections results.” Troitskij Variant, October 27, 2009.
- “Physicist, political scientist, and political geographer discuss electoral falsifications.” Esquire Russia, December 1, 2011.
- Sergey Shpilkin, “Elections under statistical scrutiny.” Gazeta.ru, December 10, 2011.