Russia: The Kremlin-party shake


In the case of regional elections in Russia, the decline in approval for the Pro-Kremlin party showed up again. From the “smart-voting”, and had recommended opposition leader Alexei Navalny, benefit especially Communists.

The regional elections in Russia, which on Sunday, governors, mayors and city councils between Kaliningrad and Vladivostok were elected, stood for months under special observation. Especially in Moscow, there was an unusually strong protest movement in the run-up to the usually little-noticed election for the city Parliament. The trigger is a non-admission of a number of independent candidates, including and also from the environment of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny. For the exclusion of formal reasons were given. Navalny himself called on his supporters to “smart tune” to select every promising candidate – the main thing is that none of the Pro-Kremlin party United Russia.

Strong opposition forces in Moscow city Council

The on Monday announced the preliminary result shows that this tactical approach is, at least worked partially. United Russia had to let feathers your Moscow chief Andrei Metelski was defeated in battle by a direct mandate of a Communist. Nevertheless, the Pro-Kremlin party, with over 20 mandates the strongest force in the Moscow city Council.

Almost half of the seats – 20 of 45 – went to the opposition parties. Biggest winner of the Communists, who have doubled, with 13 of future Seats the number of seats more than are. However, the Communists in Russia have the reputation to be only formally oppositional and often support the Kremlin. A similar reputation, the left party Fair Russia, which will be represented with three mandates for the first Time in the Moscow Duma.

Alexei Navalny (right) with daughter Darya in the voting

Also, three mandates have got the liberal Yabloko party. As a fourth independent candidate, Daria Bessedina, which was supported by Yabloko comes. “Moscow really want to have a different Parliament,” said Bessedina, in a DW interview about the outcome of the election. What is meant by that is that the election result would have been even more clearly in favor of the Opposition, if all the candidates would have been admitted.

No runoff in the Governor election

A big Surprise was the election result in Moscow, however, is not. United Russia loses for years to approval in the whole country, and particularly in the capital. For this reason the candidate stood as an independent candidate. However, this approach of the Pro-Kremlin party has not helped apparently. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that we should think about this practice and to possibly change them. The turnout in Moscow remained around 21 per cent to a very low level.

In other Parts of Russia similar to the regional election: The Kremlin’s party, wobbles, holds but. Of their weakness, the Communists and the right-wing populists of the Liberal Democratic party (LDPR), which are also counted among the so-called “System Opposition” benefit. When choosing a direct mandate for the state Duma, has won in the Khabarovsk Region on the Pacific coast, a candidate from the LDPR, followed by a Communists. For United Russia, Putin was a candidate-loyalty Chanson singer and came in third.

In the case of the Governor election, the Kremlin has made in comparison to the previous year, this time no mistake: There will be no runoff election. Such a possibility appeared first in St. Petersburg on the horizon, but the promising candidate of the Communists, the well-known film Director Vladimir Bortko, refused and complained about unequal conditions. 2018 Director could not win, the ruling governors in four regions of Russia in the first ballot. This time the authorities have done “everything” to United Russia holds in the case of Governor election, their position, – said Dmitry Schurawljow, Director of the Moscow Institute of regional problems of the DW. “In preparation for the election, the experience from 2018 was taken into account, including some surprising defeats of United Russia, adds Alexei Titkov, associate Professor at the Moscow higher school of Economics,. “As a result of the approval, a strong opposition was excluded institutional candidates.”

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Kremlin party defends the majority in Russia

Tactical vote in the Duma election in 2021?

The success of the opposition institutional forces in Moscow much to the account of Navalny’s campaign tactics, it is recognized both in the Opposition, as well as in professional circles. “I think the smart vote was on the whole very successful,” said in an interview-Andras Rasz of the German society for foreign policy (DGAP). “The rulers underestimated how effective this Instrument would be.”

Some observers in Russia, however, refer to the strengthening of the Communists as a consequence of that. As you should in future, deal with it, was unclear. Whether a tactical vote in the Duma election in 2021 would be useful, remains open. Dmitry Schurawljow thinks that a successful Protest vote in Russia is only possible, when it comes to social issues.