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Farewell to the elections in Russia

We awoke to a new political reality. No matter who won in Primorye. Importantly, the government has shown that it is no longer able to compromise, I’m sure Ivan Preobrazhensky.

The second round of gubernatorial elections in Primorsky Krai has led to loud scandal. Until the last moment there was the leader of the Communist candidate. I went to bed in the belief that he will win. But the Kremlin’s “troops” and the local election Commission in the night made a miracle and led the United Russia in the first place. The experts of the organization “Voice” saying what happened can be called illegal seizure and retention of power. Could this decision have consequences not only for the history of the election simulation, but also for the political future of Russia in General?

What’s the difference – the Communists or United Russia?

No matter who wins in these elections, some representatives of the Russian non-system opposition. Still power going to break all of the knee. Here and tell us after seaside fraud, why is it necessary to go to vote and why every vote important, sarcastically asked, for example, the analyst Fedor Krasheninnikov.

Indeed, for real politics, it makes no difference whether United Russia will win or the candidate from the Communist party, which even before the final tabulation hastened to inform, that will not raise above the Primorye red flag and will carry out the policy of Vladimir Putin.

I deliberately did not give names – they are not important. The Communist party and “United Russia” – has long been just a different faction of the same nedobachii with the center of decision-making in the Kremlin. Just look at Oryol oblast, where Communist Andrey Klychkov quiet and within a pre-programmed result was elected on 9 September the Governor.

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But not according to the order the toy of the opposition to win where she didn’t. Russian political feudalism is that the Communist party has given “feeding” the eagle, and other lands of the party to look for should not.

So for the government there is a difference. She is just very finely versed in the varieties of their agents. But the main thing is. Seaside United Russia is not just acting. Governor, but the candidate receiving the personal blessing of Vladimir Putin, who met him between first and second round. That is, voting for a Communist, seaside voters actually refused their support to the President of Russia.

The new reality for the regions

Thus, thanks to the seaside the elections than they officially ended, we now know that the direct support of Vladimir Putin, it turns out, nothing guarantees the regional elites. He can’t give them a huge rating if even this rating has.

Since the beginning of 2000-ies between the Kremlin and the regions acted an informal Pact: local elites to demonstrate loyalty, and in Moscow at the right moment takes them under the umbrella of the presidential rating and protects from power loss. Now the Central government can no longer fulfill his end of the bargain. And this over time will necessarily affect the loyalty of regional elites.

Farewell, the elections?

Another problem for the Kremlin is the possibility of electoral defeat. The Russian government and so in recent years, increasingly focused in the struggle with the opposition to direct violence. During the gubernatorial election on 9 September no real opposition to participation was not allowed. Any protests are harshly suppressed.

But the elections themselves, and let the simulation as a tool of legitimization of power is still kept. Feel like (and rightly so) many political analysts, electoral authoritarianism is one of the most flexible and stable forms of authoritarian rule.

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Primorye confronts the Kremlin with a dilemma whether to stick to that old scheme? After all, the risk that, instead of confirming his right to rule will be the delegitimization. The population is sometimes so tired that voting for anyone – if only against the government.

If it goes on, the Kremlin will have more openly to forge the voting results. And, so, undermine their own reputation. Especially high risk for is responsible for electing the officials that the possible fraud be held personally liable. It would be logical to propose to the President from election to withdraw and to appoint all Executive orders.

This looks as likely. However, despite the seeming simplicity, this decision, in the end, probably further weaken the Russian government. Feedback from the public, and even its imitation will eventually be lost.

One defeat

Thus, Primorsko elections – of course, the beginning of a new political reality in which he lives Russia. Staff pessimists, and especially the government, can pretend that nothing has changed.

In reality there is a profound change of relations of the Central government with the regions and with the population as a whole. Understanding less, the old agreements no longer work. We’ll see whether the authorities of the adequacy of the offer in exchange of something other than rubber truncheons.

Author: Ivan Preobrazhensky – PhD in political Sciences, expert on Central and Eastern Europe, a columnist for several media outlets. The author of the weekly column on DW. Ivan Preobrazhensky in Facebook: Ivan Preobrazhensky

This comment expresses the personal opinion of the author. It may not coincide with the opinion of the Russian edition of Deutsche Welle and as a whole.

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