RIA Novosti: Pundits Look At Ways To Secure Acting Moscow Mayor’s Election Win

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(RIA Novosti – September 11, 2013) Russian political analysts have offered suggestions to secure acting Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s victory at the 9 September election, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on 11 September.

Political scientist Vladimir Slatinov said that Sobyanin achieved an “insecure” victory and would need to compensate for “this shortcoming in legitimacy”.

“Sobyanin has achieved an insecure victory – the percentage that separates him from the standard is very small and unfortunately the problem of illegitimacy has not been resolved fully, since this slight edge is perceived as an insecure victory, which took place under the Moscow residents’ high level of passivity. Therefore, Sobyanin will need to compensate for this shortcoming in legitimacy. It is becoming very important for Sobyanin to provide maximum transparency in the work of the mayor’s office,” Slatinov said.

Sobyanin should use “opponents’ ideas”

Slatinov also suggested that Sobyanin incorporate some of the significant ideas of his election rivals Ivan Melnikov and Aleksey Navalnyy.

“These are science and culture from Melnikov’s programme and (fight against) corruption, transparency in tenders and leasing public premises as well as issues of migration from that of Navalnyy. Sobyanin should undoubtedly use the ideas that were voiced by his opponents,” Slatinov said.

Seeming to agree with Slatinov, political scientist Pavel Svyatenkov suggested that Sobyanin should form a coalition with one of his opponents. Although it was understandable “that Navalnyy will not go to him”, Sobyanin could work with Melnikov, Svyatenkov said. “Melnikov’s result is quite honourable taking into account that Moscow is a very wealthy city and there are not many Communist Party supporters here. Therefore, perhaps, it would make sense for Sobyanin to talk to Melnikov and invite communists to power,” Svyatenkov said.

In a similar light, deputy president of the Centre for Political Technologies Aleksey Makarkin said that Sobyanin’s programme already contained many of the other mayoral candidates’ ideas and that he could implement them as well. “The struggle between the candidates was not a struggle between platforms to a significant extent. This was a struggle between figures, images and political directions. As for platforms, then the programmes of many of the candidates contained improving social work, fighting corruption, combating traffic jams and increasing access to officials and the quality of their services. Therefore, these articles, which move from one programme to another are close to many candidates and could be implemented by Sobyanin, too,” Makarkin said.

Furthermore, Makarkin added that Sobyanin must continue his policies along social guarantees that Moscow residents are already familiar with as well as activities that are aimed at benefiting the middle class such as developing bicycle paths, pedestrian zones and parks. “He should continue what he is doing now in this direction,” Makarkin said.

High standards set for City Duma polls in 2014

Both Makarkin and Slatinov agreed that Sobyanin will have to carry out a transparent election to the Moscow City Duma in 2014.

“This Moscow election set the standard of a truly unprecedented election in terms of transparency. It is very important for Sobyanin to hold an election that is similar in terms of transparency next year because everybody understands that a scandalous body of the Moscow City Duma was formed in 2009 when the State Duma saw a demarche by opposition factions. The election in 2014 must be completely the opposite of the election in 2009,” Slatinov said.

“I think that the Moscow City Duma election will be of a competitive nature and the next City Duma will most likely be more diverse than the current one. The struggle will be interesting and most likely the election will be honest. It is important for the city authorities to confirm that they are able to carry out adequate election campaigns. Moreover, there will be many observers. Therefore, I think that the campaign will be quite clean,” Makarkin said.