No Early Russian Presidential Elections Says Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 7, 2016) The Kremlin has dismissed rumors of early presidential elections as “absolute speculation.” Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the issue was “not on the agenda.” “This is absolute speculation,” Peskov said. “There are no such discussions in the Kremlin.” A number of experts had claimed that the vote could be pushed […]

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Two-thirds of Russians opposed to introduction of mandatory voting in elections – poll

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – The idea of introducing mandatory voting in Russian elections has so far failed to win public support, with 63% of Russians against it and 34% in favor, the VTsIOM said. The opponents cited “voting being everyone’s personal business” (64%) and “sometimes being objectively unable to vote” (14%). Those who support the initiative said participation in […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow: “Looking to 2018: The Kremlin Plans Its Next Election”

Kremlin and River

The Russian authorities delivered a resounding victory for the ruling party in the 2016 parliamentary election after reaching the conclusion that they showed weakness in 2011 and the Russian opposition exploited that. This will shape their strategy for the next presidential election in 2018.

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United Russia will not adopt unpopular decisions – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) – The United Russia party, which has won a constitutional majority in the new State Duma, will not adopt unpopular decisions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is the party’s chairman, said. “Some people think that the constitutional majority in the Duma and solid representation at the regional level gives the party a right to adopt […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova and commission members

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the chairperson of the Central Election Commission and the commission’s members to discuss the results of the recent elections. Elections for the State Duma and for various local jurisdictions were held in 60 Russian regions on Election Day, September 18, 2016. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Pamfilova, colleagues, I would […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian politics. The hollow election. The lowest-ever turnout for Duma elections suggests Vladimir Putin is losing touch with his political base.

Russia Regions Map

The Economist reports on low participation in Russia’s 2016 Duma elections. … The Kremlin made every effort to ensure the elections were as sterile and low-profile as possible. It banned and harassed genuine opposition parties and their leaders. … it persuaded many that nothing depended on voters. The official turnout was 48% – the lowest ever in the history of […]

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The Russian Opposition Should Do Its Homework

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vladislav L. Inozemtsev – September 22, 2016) Vladislav Inozemtsev is a Russian economist and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies in Moscow. A landslide United Russia victory and a remarkably poor showing of the opposition forces in Russia’s parliamentary elections earlier this week shouldn’t be attributed entirely to rigged electoral rules or fraud. There […]

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Pamfilova to stay in charge of Central Election Commission until last election complaint processed

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Russian Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova said she would not leave her post until the last complaint regarding the State Duma elections was processed. “Not a single complaint will be disregarded. No one leaves until this Central Election Commission processes the last claim against this election campaign,” she said. “I have been urged to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin’s big win in Russian elections may not be a victory” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… United Russia … may have won a crushing victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections … undoubtedly … a huge boost for … Putin. But the most common remark about the now-concluded election campaign is that it was “very boring.” … an odd moment for Russia …. buffeted by two years of economic recession and still-escalating political tensions with the West. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Putin] Visiting United Russia party’s campaign headquarters

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 18, 2016) After the polling stations closed, Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the election campaign headquarters of the United Russia party. The United Russia party candidates who took part in the election in Moscow and the Moscow Region, along with volunteers and United Russia party activists took part in the meeting. Prime Minister Dmitry […]

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Duma Vote Shows Changes Won’t Come in Russia via Elections, Commentators Say

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 19, 2016) The most important feature of the Duma Elections was unprecedentedly low level of participation, a reflection of the Russian population’s symmetrical response to the Kremlin’s contempt for its views and an indication that change in Russia “will not come via elections but as a result of some sort of […]

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Interfax/VTsIOM: Russians differ on work of independent monitors at elections

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) – A relative majority of Russians (43%) believe that the presence of independent monitors at polling stations makes elections more fair, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) said. Over one-third of the respondents (34%) believe monitors’ participation does not influence the fairness of elections in any way and eight percent believe their presence only worsens […]

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Russian Opposition Just as Moscow-Centric as Russian Regime, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 13, 2016) Russian opposition figures who took part in recent discussions in Tallinn and Vilnius said many “just words” about how totally predictable the upcoming elections in Russia will be, Vadim Shtepa says. But they were also totally predictable in focusing “almost exclusively” on Moscow and how Muscovites will react. Participants […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Post-Election Economy: Down, But Not Out. Parliamentary elections are rapidly approaching, but this time politicians aren’t making any pie-in-the-sky promises.” – Moscow Times/Boris Grozovsky

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

By any measure, the Russian economy is deep in a classic recession: GDP has dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter. If Russia had political competition, these elections would pose a challenge for both the ruling party and the opposition. But without real competition, politicians are under little pressure to lift the economy out of the current crisis. … * * […]

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Any Vote Is A Vote For Putinism

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Garry Kasparov – September 9, 2016) Garry Kasparov is a Russian politician, a former world chess champion, and head of the Human Rights Foundation international NGO. The views expressed in this commentary, which he wrote for RFE/RL’s Russian Service, do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL. Translated from the Russian by Robert Coalson There are […]

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Some 4.5 mln Russians may become observers in Russian elections – head of Central Election Commission

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – There are no restrictions on people who want to become observers in the September 18 parliamentary elections in Russia; 4.5 million Russians can take part in the monitoring, Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, said on Wednesday. “Hypothetically, a total of some 4.5 million citizens can become observers, if only they want to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with United Russia parliamentary party and experts

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – September 6, 2016) Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin’s St Catherine Hall with United Russia parliamentary party and experts representing professional communities and public organisations. Meeting with United Russia parliamentary party deputies and experts representing professional communities and public organisations. Progress on implementing socially significant laws and the May executive orders, as well as proposals on improving legislation, […]

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Putin’s Election Grip Is So Tight Even His Nemesis Can Take Part

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – August 24, 2016) The last time Vladimir Putin’s political party won national elections, ballot-stuffing allegations sparked the biggest protests of his rule. Five years on, Putin appears to be so confident in his hold on power that even his most dogged adversary is welcome to challenge United Russia in next month’s […]

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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Detention of PARNAS party members in Russia’s Tatarstan “absolutely stupid” on part of local law enforcement agencies – Russian Central Elections Commission head

File Photo of Mosque in Kazan and other Landmarks

MOSCOW. Aug 16 (Interfax) – The detention of PARNAS party members in Tatarstan is a sign of the local law enforcement agencies’ lawlessness, Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chairperson Ella Pamfilova said. “This is outrageous. The mildest words here are: it’s absolutely stupid. This is direct connivance with the law enforcement agencies; the Tatarstan authorities have never been notable for […]

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Russian Opposition Should Support Medvedev Rather than Try to Have Him Fired, Inozemtsev Says

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 9, 2016) At a time when Dmitry Medvedev has become the object of snickers for his comments to pensioners in Crimea and to and when more than 250,000 Russians have signed a petition calling for Vladimir Putin to replace him as prime minister, Vladislav Inozemtsev argues opponents of the Kremlin have […]

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Poll: Over 35% of Russians believe voting in upcoming elections is useless

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

Experts explain that many voters do not believe that their votes will be counted honestly, do not see any differences between the parties and do not consider the parliament an influential body. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA CHULKOVSKAYA, RBTH – July 14, 2016) A few months before the parliamentary elections in Russia, which will take place on […]

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Large Parties Expected to Dominate Duma Election – Report

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 14, 2016) The next State Duma could be made of three political parties instead of four, with smaller opposition parties winning no seats at all, a new report by the Russian Association of Public Relations (RASO) announced Wednesday. The ruling United Russia party and larger, systemic, opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and […]

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Third of Russians Expect Rigged 2016 Duma Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 1, 2016) More than a third of Russians believe that the upcoming State Duma elections will not be free and fair, a survey by independent pollster Levada Center revealed Friday. Thirty eight percent of the 1600 respondents believed that the elections would involve slander, pressure on the electorate, ballot tampering, or other forms of […]

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Here’s What Putin Wants From Central Bank as Elections Near

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 5, 2016) Helping your president win elections doesn’t have to compromise a central bank’s independence, at least not in Russia. Monetary policy is aligning with politics before Vladimir Putin’s biggest test at the ballot box since he returned to the presidency in 2012. By claiming the upper hand in the […]

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Russian ruling party confirms Duma election candidates

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – June 27, 2016) A United Russia congress on 27 June approved the ruling party’s candidates and manifesto for the State Duma election in September, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Lists of candidates Half of the 450 seats in the new Duma will be elected by proportional representation and the other half by a majority vote […]

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Russian State Duma Election Season Begins

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 20, 2016) Campaign season for the upcoming Russian State Duma elections kicks off this week, with the country’s main political parties preparing for their vital 2016 conventions and candidate nominations. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Friday that elections would be taking place on September 18. Russian law requires that between 90 to 110 days […]

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United Russia: Same Game, New Tactics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola CichowlasJ – June 16, 2016) By June 19, President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign a decree that will officially kick-start the campaign season. Within a few days, all the parties taking part in the election will host conventions and declare their list of candidates. These State Duma elections will be the first time […]

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Putin’s Core Support Begins to Waver; Working-class Russians hurt by recession look for someone to blame-in an election year

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – June 9, 2016) Russia embarks on an almost two-year-long election season this summer that ends with a presidential contest in 2018. But unlike previous years, the country’s faltering economy has taken its toll on lower-income voters who blame the Duma and the cabinet for their plight. Five years ago, allegations of vote rigging […]

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Russian Election Commission Head Says ‘No One Is Untouchable’ on Violations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2016) The head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said that an interdepartmental working group is being set up to quickly react to election violations, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily reported Monday. The working group will include representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee, Pamfilova said […]

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NEWSWATCH: “United Russia Primaries Open Pandora’s Box” – Carnegie Moscow Center/Andrey Pertsev

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

The primaries have once again highlighted the Kremlin’s domestic policy tactics. First, the administration announces a large project, makes promises, and even begins to deliver on them. Then, fears of failure and loss of control set in, and all work grinds to a halt. * * * The primaries join a raft of domestic policy gimmicks the Kremlin has used […]

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Many Fear Real Elections Will Bring Fascism to Russia But Their Absence Helps It Rise, Piontkovsky Says

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 21, 2016) Both before the 1917 revolution and since 1991, Russian liberals and their foreign backers have often feared that genuine elections, ones in which the outcome was not determined by those in power who supposedly were committed to reform might lead either to a return to communism or the rise […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Liberals in the Crosshairs: The Russian opposition’s troubles are only beginning.” – The National Interest/Maria Snegovaya

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

As Russia approaches parliamentary elections scheduled in September 2016, the prospects for Russia’s so-called nonsystem liberal opposition look increasingly gloomy. Not only have democratic opposition leaders failed to create a unified coalition yet again, as in essentially every previous election – a failure that will likely diminish their already limited chances to win seats in Russia’s federal and regional parliaments […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Divide in the Russian opposition, the return of Alexey Kudrin, and a new controversy in Crimea. Media Roundup: Russia’s journalists covered the comeback of former finance minister Alexey Kudrin and the split within the Russian opposition ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.”

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Interfax: Putin views fair competition during parliamentary election as basis for building confidence in authorities among citizens

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST PETERSBURG. April 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that the State Duma election to be held this autumn must be characterized by a fair and competitive campaign. “You understand perfectly that it is of the utmost importance for this campaign to be spared violations and proceed in an absolutely competitive and fair contest,” Putin said at […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Russian Security Force Will Answer to Vladimir Putin. The Russian Guard is being formed ahead of coming parliamentary elections.” – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to … Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections. … the new force … the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. … Putin directed the creation of the force … through an executive order … under review by […]

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On My Mind [re: Kudrin and Pamfilova]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 21, 2016) You have to wonder what drives people like Aleksei Kudrin and Ella Pamfilova. Both were in the news this week. Kudrin accepted an offer to chair the Kremlin’s top economics think tank, the Center for Strategic Reform, and called for a fundamental restructuring of Russia’s economy and political system. And […]

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Russian veteran opposition politician discusses policy, presidential ambitions

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(Interfax – March 4, 2016) Interfax journalists Vasiliy Antipin and Andrey Novikov interview with Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: “Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: I will win elections from Putin; Yabloko founder has decided to return to big-league politics and describes his plans and his associates’ plans” Moscow, 4 March: Grigoriy Yavlinskiy has decided to return to big-league politics. Yabloko’s founder plans to fight […]

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Legitimized Elections: The Kremlin Plays a New Game

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – March 11, 2016) There was nothing unusual about the weeks running up to the 2009 Moscow City Duma election. United Russia, the party of power, hogged airtime on television and radio. Opposition candidates were routinely barred from running. Municipal workers ripped other parties’ fliers from the city streets. Maria Zheleznova observed the […]

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Putin’s Liberal Enablers

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – March 7, 2016) We soon may be able to add yet another name to the list of Vladimir Putin’s liberal enablers. Speculation is rampant that longtime human rights activist Ella Pamfilova will replace Vladimir Churov as head of the Russian electoral commission. Putin named the widely respected Pamfilova, who is […]

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Yabloko and PARNAS to have separate lists at elections, unified party impossible for technical, political reasons – Yavlinsky

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. March 4 (Interfax) – The Yabloko party founder, Grigory Yavlinsky, believes it is impossible to establish a unified PARNAS-Yabloko party, and the most likely option is to hold talks on separating candidates in single-seat election districts, but, at the same time, keeping two party lists. “We will do all that is possible and necessary. Negotiations are under way today,” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Public support for Putin to serve another term hits highest level in four years: poll” – Reuters

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Public support for … Putin to serve another term as president has hit its highest level in four years, a survey by a state-run pollster showed …. Seventy-four percent of Russians would vote to re-elect Putin as president, according to … VTsIOM. Putin dominates state media … and is widely expected to contest the next presidential election in 2018 …. […]

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