It probably won’t surprise you to hear that pro-Putin party United Russia came first in 13 of the 14 regions, with around 46% of the vote. Nor will it surprise you to hear that newly formed pro-Putin party A Just Russia won in the 14th region.
RFE/RL reckon that the biggest surprise was the surprisingly strong performance of the Union of Rightist Forces, which won representation in 7 of the 14 regions. The reason?
“Observers tend toward the opinion that access to air time was a kind of payment from the Kremlin for the SPS’s loyalty,” the newspaper added. “We recall that the SPS, unlike Yabloko, did not take part in the ‘March of the Discontented’ that took place at the beginning of March in St. Petersburg, although the rightists condemned the harsh actions of the law-enforcers against the participants in the action.”
Yabloko, of course, were controversially not even registered in some elections, including St Petersburg, as I’ve noted previously
For me, though, I was impressed that the Communist Party managed to hang on to a reasonable share of the vote – finishing second overall, with around 16% of the votes cast.
A few more bits and pieces:
- The Communist Party and Union of Rightist Forces are contesting the elections in Dagestan and Moscow respectively.
- The FT say that Russia’s party system isn’t an effective safety valve for social discontent.
- Following the election, Putin dismissed Central Elections Commission chairman Alexander Veshnyakov, who had previously been critical of the growing dominance of United Russia. He was also one of the few remaining holdouts from the Yeltsin era.