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Monday, March 19, 2018

Not such a boring campaign

Duma election campaign unfolds slowly. Parties do not tend to engage in active campaigning, and voters, in turn, have shown little interest in the elections. However, this does not mean that the elections will necessarily be boring.

Restraint of the parties is clear. The crisis in the country, first Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko reported recently that if nothing changes in the economy, by the end of 2017 will not remain budget reserves and will have nothing to pay salaries. So far, the money is there, but the oil prosperity were not only for Federal but also for the party’s budget. It is not surprising that parties and politicians are seeking to save money, not to get to the finish line without ammunition.

And now the voters are really not interested in politics. August is vacation time, and even those Russians who are not lucky enough to escape at that time from the cities, try to give more time to the garden plots. Some recovery will occur only at the end of August, but it will not be associated with the election, we will need to prepare their children for school. September 1 — knowledge Day, but after that future voters won’t have time to think about politics. 2 September need to go to the stores books and stationery and to purchase those textbooks, pens and notebooks, which failed to buy in advance. 3-4 September — legitimate weekend, time for another trip to Hacienda (not to waste in vain time, peak season!). And only on 5 September, coming on Monday at work, voters will be interested in future elections.

So effective campaigning will last less than two weeks — from 5 to 16 September (Saturday, the 17th, the “day of silence”). In this period election will cease to be boring, and the party will invest in the campaign all their resources in order to attract voters. Now there is a long “buildup” in which parties seek to increase their reputation and to mobilize activists, but nothing more.

The September campaign can be interesting, as the opposition parties will have the opportunity to be actively promoted in the major media favorable to them topics related to the social sphere, healthcare, pensions and salaries, utilities, including the problem of payment for capital repairs. Currently, politicians from the opposition difficult to break into the television with a winning agenda. Formally, they are represented on major political talk shows, but the topics of discussions are often far from the real needs of their electorates. Politicians have to talk about geopolitics or the Ukrainian situation, and in these subjects the parliamentary parties are in the Wake of the “United Russia”, and the liberals play the role of “bad guys”, which turn and opponents, and the Patriotic audience, and leading, not hiding his likes and dislikes.

In the Duma election geopolitical situation will be in the deep periphery (foreign and defence policy prerogatives of the President), and on the foreground there will be “social”, where the opposition has many arguments — both rational and emotional. Remember the election campaign of 2011, where the rapid growth of a rating “Fair Russia” was due not only to the mobilization of angry citizens who want to see in the Duma, Gudkov and Ponomaryov (but get more and Mizulina), but also the commercials with the late Rimma Markova, ably played the role of the offended pensioner, is so successful that churovskaya” the CEC found him inciting social discord. This technology contributed to the inflow on the side of “socialist” paternalistic electorate.

Now the political offer has expanded and applicants for voices of protest of the voters of various stripes will be considerably more than five years ago, when they participated in the elections only seven parties (two of them — “Pravoe Delo” and “Patriots of Russia” — played the role of extras). In addition, if the voting in constituencies is mainly pragmatic (most likely have the best lobbyists are able to bring the district additional funding), then the choice of the party voters often come from emotional factors.

Therefore, in September the possible attempts of several electoral mobilizations, including the parliamentary parties. The Communist party and the “revolutionaries” will compete for the votes of the paternalists. LDPR — for the part of the middle class, which in 2011 was blamed for the election of Churov’s magic, and now believes Rodchenkova and Stepanov traitors, which is popular favorite Isinbayeva will not be able to get a well-deserved Olympic gold.

Activity can be and the extra-parliamentary party. “Homeland” will attempt to mobilize the most active part of the Patriotic society, still dreaming of a new Russia to Transnistria. Will attempt a “regional” mobilization, that is, voting primarily for “own”, local politics, — are engaged in Party growth. Yabloko and PARNAS will compete for the votes of liberals, and while that of PARNAS, according to the survey “Levada-Center”, went ahead — would vote for him 2% of those wishing to participate in the elections, whereas for the “Apple” — 1%. The gap is small, and it is not surprising. PARNAS is subjected to the most rigid criticism of anti-liberal forces, and in response, there is a small but noticeable “contraviesa”, the desire to support the party “in spite of” the mainstream. About the same part of Soviet society read antideslizante texts and sympathized with those whom they denounced. However, in order to obtain a better result, this is not enough, as part of the radical-liberal electorate in the elections fundamentally will not go. And moderate liberals, rather, might be interested in “Apple”.

The problem is that in addition to the four parliamentary parties (three of which are guaranteed in the Duma, and the fourth — “Fair Russia” — with a high probability) 5% barrier can be overcome only another list, and even then not necessarily. Recall that in 1999 a split “party of power” in the Duma passed the six parties, and in 2003, when the “party of power” has been consolidated — has four, and “Apple” to pass did less than one percentage point. Therefore, competition mobilizations will be very sharp, and which one will be the most successful, will show the September finish. However, some losers might get a “consolation prize” — 3% of the votes and government funding.

And finally, interest in elections can be associated with the return to politics of a number of figures, expelled from it after the elimination of single-member districts and a sharp reduction in the number of parties. Including some of them in party lists has caused talk about whether “Patriots of Russia” to be spoilers of the Communist party, and the Party of growth — whether “Apple”, or Parnassus. After the first included in his list Alexander Rutskoi, and the second is Irina Khakamada. In fact, in politics there are many interests that do not fit into a simple bipolar logic, “the Kremlinopposition”. There is a real situation in which the political sphere has extended competition, opened the “Windows of opportunity”, it is quite natural that politicians try to use them. The same applies, for example, to Vladimir Ryzhkov, included in the Federal part of the list of “Yabloko” and former mayor of Vladivostok Victor Cherepkova standing from “homeland”, and a number of other famous political figures.

However, the election results could also impact factor, which now can predict one analyst. In the last week before the vote, all parties will be closely watching the forecasts of meteorologists. Good weather can be best of the “United Russia” and the Communist party with their disciplined electorates. If Friday or Saturday morning to charge the rain, the potential voters of other parties might prefer to come to the polls is a welcome trip to the country. So the weather factor creates another intrigue in the not-so-boring state Duma elections.

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