Regional Elections in Russia: Warm-Up for the Parliamentary Elections 2016.

On the 13th of September 2015, there will be yet another "elections day" in Russia. The electorates of many regions will nominate regional and municipal deputies and, in a number of regions, the governors. The leading expert of the Moscow Centre for Political Technologies Rostislav Turovsky considers this campaign a rehearsal for the parliamentary elections of 2016 and makes a detailed analysis of the political situation in the country.

According to Turovsky, the course of this election campaign is contradictory to the storms currently raging in the economic sector and in foreign policy. The author emphasises that the internal politics in Russia remain far better and more successfully organized and do not yet pose any critical problems for the country and the existing order. The minimization of the number of major scandals at the time of the election campaign testifies to the timely reconciliation of interests, an improved understanding in the relationship between Kremlin and the governors, and an intercommunication of the government with the opposition forces such as the parliamentary communist parties, the liberal democrats and "A Just Russia," who have appointed their most famous politicians in the regions.

Turovsky references the statistics of participation of the parliamentary parties in the governor elections and considers those to be substantially better than last year. The liberal democrats come off as the best, followed by the CPRF and "A Just Russia." On the whole, in his opinion, the scenario of the relationship of the government with a parliamentary party is directly dependent on the power of the given party and the extent of its opposition. Turovsky assumes that the parties of the parliamentary opposition abstained from forming a coalition amongst each other. Coalitions are created only with the government and while the opposition coalitions simply do not exist, everyone plays for himself.

In the existing party system, there is very little space left for the non-parliamentary parties. Overall, there are 16 non-parliamentary parties participating in the election in various regions. Their significance in the party system does not grow and, ostensibly, even begins to drop, which, according to Turovsky, goes against the interests of the ruling United Russia party. The author analyzes in detail the election mistakes of the non-parliamentary parties as well as the government strategy towards the national-patriotic, liberal, "pensioners" and green parties, giving specific examples from the various regions of Russia.

Turovsky proclaims the departure from stage of the former notable players in the liberal category, who have become entirely pro-Kremlin and lost their electoral niche. In conclusion, the author draws attention to the tendency towards simplification of the party system and a more precise distribution of roles, which is quite in sync with the gradual preparation for the Duma campaign. In this hierarchical system, the communists land the secondary position while it becomes even more difficult for them to demonstrate their power of opposition. The liberal democrats come up in the third place, where they take on the role of the subordinate partner of the governing forces. "A Just Russia" has driven itself into a dead end being fully dependent on the decisions of Kremlin and losing its stronghold in the regions. Full version of the article: http://readrussia.com/2015/07/01/expert-2015-elections-are-predictable-but-important/

Center for Political Technologies (CPT), Moscow
Mr. Rostislav Turovsky