NEWSLINK: More Russian Election Intrigue

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

Russia: Other Points of View – Gordon M. Hahn – October 24, 2012 –

Gordon M. Hahn examines recent Russian gubernatorial, legislative assembly, mayoral, and municipal council elections across the country:

Russian authorities’ at all levels in the United Russia (UR) party continued use of the infamous ‘administrative resources’; that is, using state institutions to give their party and pro-Kremlin candidates an advantage, in addition to some fraud to try to control election outcomes.  Nevertheless, contestation, intrigue, and occasional uncertainty continue to emerge in some of the elections.

The opposition had some greater success in smaller jurisdictions:

However, in smaller jurisdictions, the authorities were more hard-pressed to flaunt the electoral rights of neighbors, acquaintances, colleagues, and friends so easily or flagrantly, producing some opposition victories, especially in mayoral elections.  Thus, UR candidates lost six of 12 mayoral races.  Although in three of those cases, the victors were former UR politicians, in the others the winners were well-known oppositionists.  For example, in the mayoral election in Sverdlovsk Oblast’s city of Degtyarsk, the candidate of the opposition ‘Fair Russia’ (Spravedlivaya Rossiya or SR) party, Igor Busakhin, won an astounding 64 percent victory.  Since Putin’s return to the presidency, the SR, which defected to the street opposition’s side during the winter-spring mass demonstrations against Putin and for democracy and free and fair elections, has been under constant pressure from the security organs.  Its leader Gennadii Gudkov was run out of parliament for retaining his business activity while serving in the Duma ­ something many, including UR deputies.  Another top SR deputy, Ilya Ponomaryov, was censured from speaking in the Duma for a period of time.  So the SR’s victory in Degtyarsk is important.

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