During Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency, many remember the phrase about freedom, “which is better than non-freedom” said in his first presidential address at the end of 2008. Today, this is definitely a useful message could be updated in the following way – better legitimate protest illegal.
On 26 June, the Committee on state building and local self-government Legislative Assembly of the Irkutsk region rejected a bill to return direct election of the mayor of Irkutsk. With a similar idea back in April was made by the local Communists, the leader of which – Sergey Levchenko became the first competitive elected Governor in the country since the return of direct gubernatorial elections. In support of their initiatives, they even announced the intention to hold a referendum on the day of presidential elections on 18 March next year. At the session of 14 June, the deputies of the legislative Assembly has not made a decision on the conformity of the question submitted to referendum, the law of the Irkutsk region. The head of region has declared that the question of holding a referendum on the return of elections of the mayor of Irkutsk will be addressed in the constitutional court. At the moment the mayor of Irkutsk, a member of “United Russia” Dmitry Berdnikov is in a confrontational relationship with the “red Governor”. It is obvious, therefore Levchenko hopes to solve the issue of ending the confrontation with mayoral vertical of power in the region.
Against this background, difficulties with the registration of the candidate on a post of the head of the neighboring Buryatia Republic, which already at the initial stage has Senator Vyacheslav markhayev, seem quite natural. The acting head of the Republic Alexey Tsydenov started with a fairly coarse sweep of the political space of the region on the eve of the September elections. The dilemma – skip Marhaeva, but not to win in the first round or not to allow the main opposition leader of the Republic for the elections, and thereby put into question their legitimacy until it is decided in favor of the second scenario. Barrier, as in other similar cases (for example, in the Yaroslavl region), is to overcome the municipal filter, when “unexpectedly” even some opposition MPs under the influence of external circumstances in the form of envelopes from the leadership of the local administration revoke their signatures under the nomination of their leader, and hastily sign up for the other fake candidates. The atavism called “unfilter” (collection of signatures of municipal deputies in support of the nomination) was devised specifically for such situations, which at times reduces the risk of losing elections assigned chapters in the conditions of non-admission of its major opponents.
A similar situation is developing in Yekaterinburg, where with pomp nominated personally by Grigory Yavlinsky on the post of candidate for Governor of Sverdlovsk region from the “Apple” the mayor Yevgeny Roizman is almost certainly not the world to collect the required number of deputies ‘ autographs. If he will not help in this power, as his time in Moscow mayoral elections in 2014, when Alexei Navalny was collecting signatures “United Russia” (49% of required signings then 110 municipal deputies were provided to staff of the Bulk by the Association of municipal deputies of Moscow, headed by Alexey Shaposhnikov, the current speaker of the Moscow city Duma).
The harsh reaction in the regions to prevent legal opposition (Senator, mayor, etc.) to participate in the gubernatorial campaigns, as well as fear of the return of direct mayoral elections could subsequently cast a shadow on the legitimacy of the upcoming March 18, the popular will. That would be highly undesirable for the Kremlin. At last week’s closed meeting of the Committee on politics RASO with the head of the Central election Commission Ella Pamfilova was raised, in particular, and these questions. In extremely sympathetic terms discussed the prospect of the complete abolition of the municipal filter for the parties represented in the local legislative Assembly and the Federal Duma, and decrease for all other participants of the electoral process up to 1 percent (from the current 7%) and the return to direct election of mayors. The Commission leadership has a vested interest in the legitimacy of the electoral process ahead of the start of the presidential campaign. After all, the main question of the near future is the prospect of double – registration of conditionally convicted Navalny. At the moment, as has already publicly said Pamfilova, it is impossible, owing to the convictions of the latter. Just in case the constitutional court considered appeals will magically remove the two convictions, the Bulk will be eligible to participate in the elections.
In any case, regional “crackdown” in the face of continuing economic crisis in the country ahead of the presidential elections to no good cause can not. The authorities should realize that the “thanked” in the Wake of the rise of the “fat zero” is over. In other words, when there is no sausage, need freedom, or at least its illusion. The existing protest potential much better sold through certain statutory electoral forms, than in the streets. Otherwise, any new ban to run for the opposition policy on the ground will add hundreds of thousands of activists and illegal rallies Bulk. If it is, of course, everything is not designed.