Micromanaged Democracy: Russia’s Ruling Party Schools Candidates On Campaigning

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – February 3, 2016) Elections for Russia’s State Duma, as well as a large number of local contests, are scheduled for September. And the ruling United Russia party wants to make sure its candidates are prepared for any awkward encounters with voters or journalists. The party has created a largely closed section on its […]

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Interfax: Putin has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2018 – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has not decided yet whether he will run for president in 2018, his press officer Dmitry Peskov said. The question as to whether Putin will nominate his candidacy in the upcoming elections arose in connection with the statements about the Russian president made by a White House official, who accused the […]

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Russia May Be Close to a Revolution But Not the One Opposition Hopes For, Sociologist Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2015) Given the increasing pessimism among Russians because of declines in their standard of living, Russia may be approaching a revolutionary situation, according to Yekaterina Dobrenkova; but the revolution may not succeed or it may turn out to be very different than the one the opposition hopes for. Earlier this […]

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NEWSWATCH CNBC: “Ex-Russia Fin Min [Kudrin]: We need ‘painful’ structural reforms”

Alexei Kudrin file photo

CNBC covers remarks by former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, citing the ongoing impact of oil prices while also noting a need for Russian economic reforms, stymied by political considerations. … Kudrin acknowledged the ongoing impact of … commodities … ‘The drop in GDP (gross domestic product) this year mainly has to do with the drop in oil prices – […]

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Moscow Times: Russians Less Keen for Democratic Transfer of Power

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 4, 2015) The number of Russians supporting regular democratic changeovers of political power is at its lowest point in recent history, a poll published Thursday showed, reflecting the popularity of President Vladimir Putin amid the patriotic fervor and increasingly strong rhetoric against foreign enemies surrounding Russian military actions in Ukraine and Syria. Forty-five percent […]

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United Russia primaries candidates must take part in debates – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – All United Russia primaries candidates must take part in election debates, and it is wrong not to do so, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a joint meeting of the party’s supreme and general councils on Thursday. “The candidates must participate in the debates, maintain a position of their own and be able to […]

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Justice Ministry Refuses to Remove Elections Monitor Golos from ‘Foreign Agents’ List

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 8, 2015) Russia’s Justice Ministry has refused to exclude independent elections watchdog Golos from the list of “foreign agents,” the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. Golos said on Twitter back in July that the ministry had begun the process of removing it from the list. Ruling that its inclusion was an “error,” the ministry also […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: When Kremlin candidate loses election, even voters are surprised.

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Reuters covers a recent Russian regional election in which the ruling United Russia party suffered defeat. When Communist Sergei Levchenko beat the incumbent from President Vladimir Putin’s party to become governor of Irkutsk region in Siberia on Sunday, even the voters who backed him were surprised: the Kremlin doesn’t lose elections. The result is said to raise questions about the […]

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Russia’s Regional Elections Marred by Pressure on Observers, Fraud

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 14, 2015) Multiple violations were registered by independent elections watchdogs during Sunday’s regional elections across Russia, and in the most drastic development, the office of an observers’ organization was raided by police who said they had reason to believe it was a murder scene. The Central Elections Commission (CEC) said it […]

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Golos reports numerous electoral violations

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MOSCOW. Sept 14 (Interfax) – The movement Golos, which campaigns for voters’ rights, said in commenting on the outcome of the unified voting day that the elections in Russia had taken place with numerous violations, and that use of administrative technologies had been involved. “Bearing in mind the outcome of the public monitoring of the September 13 elections, we believe […]

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Interfax: United Russia loses four district head elections in Tomsk Region

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TOMSK. Sept 14 (Interfax) – Four United Russia candidates failed to win district head elections in the Tomsk Region, the party’s Tomsk regional secretary Sergei Ilyinykh told an Interfax press conference on Monday. “United Russia candidates won in six districts; independents won in four – Bakchar, Krivosheino, Zyryansky and Alexandrovsky,” he said. There are several reasons why the party’s election […]

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Russian Regions Prepare to Vote After Campaign of Tricks, Complacency

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – September 11, 2015) On Sunday, the governors of 21 Russian regions and more than 1,300 heads of small city administrations will be elected, together with deputies for 11 regional parliaments and 25 city legislatures. The nationwide elections, known as unified election day, are considered by some analysts to be a final rehearsal […]

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Poll shows three parties likely to be elected to next Russian parliament

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Interfax – September 3, 2015) With one year to go, half of Russian citizens have said they intend to vote in the next parliamentary election in Russia scheduled for 13 September 2016, according to an opinion poll conducted by Levada Centre. Thirty-one per cent have said they are “very likely” to vote and 19 per cent said they will “definitely” […]

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Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign

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Subject: Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the […]

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Running for Office in Siberia

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Subject: Running for Office in Siberia Part III Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council: Part III: Becoming an Official Independent Candidate By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for […]

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Russian Opposition Cornered by Authorities in Regional Election Race

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 10, 2015) Attempts by the opposition’s Democratic Coalition to take part in upcoming regional elections have been thwarted by local election commissions’ refusal to register its members as candidates, in what analysts say is a concerted effort to nip opposition bids in the bud. The coalition, which consists of opposition firebrand […]

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Russian church spokesman calls for “rotation” of political elites

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – August 4, 2015) There should be a “rotation of elites” in Russia and young people should come to power, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking at a meeting with participants in the II International Interfaith Youth Forum in Izberbash (Dagestan), privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 4 August. “Today we need a […]

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Opposition Mayor of Russian City Refuses to Go Without a Fight

Petrozavodsk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 3, 2015) In an office building in Russia’s northern city of Petrozavodsk, chance encounters between representatives of the mayor’s office and the local legislature who share the building are avoided at all costs. Petrozavodsk, capital of the republic of Karelia, is one of very few Russian cities with an elected mayor […]

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PARNAS supporters holding rally in Novosibirsk over election committee meeting on registering party lists

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NOVOSIBIRSK. July 27 (Interfax) – The rally permitted by the Novosibirsk mayor’s office of the supporters of the People’s Freedom Party For Russia Without Lawlessness and Corruption (PARNAS) is taking place in front of the Novosibirsk region’s government building on Monday, an Interfax correspondent reported. Five people are declared to participate in the rally, event organizer Vadim Sukhonenko said. “One […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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Kremlin chief-of-staff against moving Russian presidential election

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – June 20, 2015) It doesn’t make sense to move the 2018 presidential election to an earlier date, head of the Russian presidential administration Sergey Ivanov has said. “If you ask my opinion, I see absolutely no sense in this,” Ivanov said in an interview in the Vesti v Subbotu with Sergey Brilev programme on state-owned official Rossiya 1 […]

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Moscow Edges Closer to First Referendum Since Soviet Collapse

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 23, 2015) Moscow looks set to get its first referendum in post-Soviet times – and one of the burning issues on the ballot will be the restoration of a monument to the founder of the secret police to central Moscow. On June 11, the Moscow election committee approved the Communist Party’s […]

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Early Election Would Benefit Putin, Not Russia

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 18, 2015) Russia’s former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, came up with an interesting idea for turning Russia’s recent economic woes to the country’s advantage: moving up the scheduled 2017 presidential election. The problem with this suggestion — which may have been floated as a trial balloon with the Kremlin’s approval — is […]

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Kremlin Weighs Early Presidential Vote as Economic Worries Mount

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ott Ummelas, Henry Meyer – June 18, 2015) The Kremlin said experts will study the idea of calling early presidential elections, a move that could give Vladimir Putin a fresh term while his approval rating remains near a record high. “This is a new proposal,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on a conference call just […]

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Election Shifts Show Kremlin Wary Of Fallout From Recession

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 1, 2015) The Kremlin is moving to bring next year’s parliamentary elections forward and set up snap gubernatorial votes in several provinces this year, maneuvering that analysts say shows the authorities fear a deepening recession could weaken them and galvanize the opposition. The State Duma elections in December 2011 catalyzed the […]

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Russian Constitutional Court says election monitor not “foreign agent”

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2015) Russia’s Constitutional Court has again stated that a non-governmental organization (NGO) does not have to declare itself as a “foreign agent” if it has not used funds sent to its accounts from foreign sources, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 May. The court made the statement, published on its website, in response to […]

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Party led by Navalny can’t run in elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – March 30, 2015) The Moscow City Court has upheld the Justice Ministry’s refusal to include the Progress Party in the register of parties that have the right to run in elections, an Interfax correspondent has reported, citing a decision made by the judicial collegium on civilian cases read on Monday. The court declined the complaint filed by representatives […]

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‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs Won’t Be Allowed to Monitor Russian Elections

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 8, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has worked out a procedure that would allow non-governmental organizations to remove themselves from the federal register of “foreign agents” if they appeal the move and pass a snap inspection, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The move comes days after President Vladimir Putin conceded that there were […]

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Fewer Russians Ready to Re-Elect Putin, Poll Shows

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 28, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s rating has fallen for the first time this year, with a substantial drop in the number of those who say they are ready to re-elect him, a poll by the Levada Center showed Tuesday. While a poll in August showed 57 percent of respondents would vote for Putin if […]

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New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A reform is under way in […]

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Interfax: Voting system invulnerable, but will require Russian-made software in future – Churov

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

MOSCOW. June 17 (Interfax) – The head of the Russian Election Commission, Vladimir Churov, has confirmed the invulnerability of the state automated voting system “Vybory” (Elections) but added that in future the system will require Russian, not foreign, software to counter potential threats to it from abroad. “Currently our system (“Vybory”) is invulnerable, but we cannot do the next cycle […]

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Justice Ministry Adds Five More Russian NGOs to ‘Foreign Agent’ List

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 10, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has added five nongovernmental organizations to its list of “foreign agents” just days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing organizations to labeled as such without their consent. An official statement on the ministry’s website said the decision was made based on “court decisions confirming that the organizations […]

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Interfax: Golos association to contest inclusion on registry of NGOs-foreign agents in court

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

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – The Golos (Voice) association said it intended to contest in court the fact that the Russian Justice Ministry included it on the registry of non-governmental organizations (NGO) – foreign agents. “This will not affect our work in any way. The association is in the process of liquidating itself. As to the regional organization, it has […]

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Muscovites Turn Out for City Duma Primaries

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 9, 2014) More than 1,000 candidates participated in the Moscow City Duma’s first ever nonbinding primaries on Sunday. The results of Sunday’s poll will have no effect on the Moscow City Duma election, which will be held on Sept. 14. Muscovites were invited to cast their ballots in one of the […]

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Putin Brings Back the Option to Vote ‘Against All’

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2014) Citizens unhappy with all available candidates for city office can now let their discontent be known by ticking off the “against all” option when casting ballots for municipal elections in accordance with a new law signed by President Vladimir Putin. A bill pushing for a return of the “against all” option, which […]

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Duma Bill Ending Mayoral Elections Passes First Reading

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – April 17, 2014) The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill that would put an end to direct mayoral elections in some of Russia’s largest cities in what critics said was an attempt to ensure the appointment of mayors loyal to the Kremlin. The bill was approved Tuesday by […]

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RIA Novosti: Russians Regain Right to Contest Election Results in Court

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MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Wednesday allowing Russian voters to contest the results of elections or referendums in court. Under the 2012 amendments to a federal law on voting right guarantees, Russians lost the right to contest the results of elections in court. Russia’s highest court ruled Monday that these changes are […]

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The Kremlin’s Interest in “Local Business”

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(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – February 12, 2014) The question of whether or not the Kremlin will abolish direct mayoral elections in major Russian cities is likely to be one of the major political intrigues of 2014. Although the Russian Constitution prohibits cancellation of direct mayoral elections, as does the European Charter of Local Self-Government, […]

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Navalny Party Denied Registration Over Name

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 21, 2014) The Justice Ministry has denied registration to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s People’s Alliance political party, citing the existence of another organization with the same name. People’s Alliance members said they were planning to meet with Justice Ministry officials on Tuesday to discuss the government’s repeated rejections of their movement’s registration requests, Itar-Tass […]

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‘Against All’ ­- disdain as it’s meant to be

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(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – January 17, 2014) The Russian State Duma currently appears to be keen on returning the “against all” option on all election ballots, except for presidential elections ­ and this is a good thing. Critics say that reintroducing the option will only benefit the ruling United Russia party, by chipping away […]

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Russia mulls return of ‘Against All’ option on election ballots

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(Moscow News/RIA Novosti – Oleg Sukhov – January 13, 2014) Russian lawmakers are considering a measure to restore the “against all” option on ballots in elections. The initiative seeks to reinstate the opportunity for voters to oppose all the candidates running in municipal, regional and parliamentary elections. The measure is backed by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house […]

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Interfax: Putin: direct gubernatorial elections a key political trend but specific features of regions must be taken into account

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MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Direct elections of governors will remain a key provision of the Russian electoral system, President Vladimir Putin President Vladimir Putin has said. “The right of voters to elect the heads of regions is the main political trend. We will undoubtedly follow it,” he said at a Wednesday meeting with the leaders of nonparliamentary parties in […]

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Interfax: Kremlin top official calls for fair, legitimate elections in Russia

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(Interfax – November 13, 2013) The first deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, has called for fair and legitimate elections in Russian provinces and warned regional administrations against creating “artificial competition,” the privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 13 November. Volodin was speaking at a session with regional deputy governors. “In the realm of politics, anything that […]

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Interfax: Kremlin calls candidates’ groundless removal from elections ‘yesterday’s instrument’

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

SNEGIRI, Moscow region. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Russian electoral authorities, including the Central Election Commission (CEC), have managed to minimize the number of situations where potential candidates are banned from running in elections for no discernable reason, head of the Russian president’s homeland policy directorate Oleg Morozov said. “I would like to thank our colleagues from the CEC and you […]

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Kremlin denies connection between low voter turnout, bad election date

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MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Vyacheslav Volodin, first deputy head of the presidential administration said he disagrees with the fact that a single voting day, the second Sunday of September this year, was the cause of low voter turnout. “I disagree that September 8 is a day that does not give a high voter turnout,” Volodin said at a meeting […]

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Sobyanin and Putin ‘Talked Over’ Navalny Election Participation

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 21, 2013) Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said that he conferred with President Vladimir Putin about the decision to allow opposition leader Alexei Navalny to participate in the mayoral election on Sept. 8, confirming widespread speculations at the time. Putin and First Deputy Chief of Staff Vyacheslav Volodin “had a positive attitude […]

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Interfax: Russians don’t mind ‘against all’ option on ballots

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(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 16, 2013) Some 43% of Russian citizens support the initiative to reinstate the “against all” opinion on ballots, the Russian Public Opinion Studies Center (VTsIOM) told Interfax on Wednesday. Twenty-one percent of the respondents disagreed with the idea, and 32% said they simply did not care. VTsIOM polled 1,600 people in 130 towns and cities in […]

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