Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Duma election in Russia

As those of you know that know me, I am a total election junkie.   I follow them all over the world when I can.   I many countries it is hard to know what is going on without someone to give you a local perspective.  Luckily I have people in many countries that tell me what is going on.   A recent addition to this is Екатерина Шульман in Moscow.

She very much has her pulse on Russian politics as she is a lobbyist.

From a recent conversation with her on Facebook:
If you mean what party I voted for - Fair Russia, Spravedlivaya Rossia. It's an artificial left-wing Kremlin project, the leader is rather half-wit than otherwise, but the parliamentary fraction they had was good enough (one of the Russian political paradoxes) - old Duma stagers, former regional constituencies' deputies, moving to the new party after the regional constituencies were all closed. I know them rather well, being a Duma person myself. But the point of voting was not supporting a party, but opposing The Party - United Russia. Thta's why the commies got so many votes - not because people suddenly turned communists.
The Russian election results were frankly very surprising to me as I had thought that Единая Россия (United Russia) had gamed the election enough to ensure the count would have them winning with a large margin. In the end they did not.

Here is what Catherine had to say about trying to understand the election:
The deeper we get on the local level, the harder we find it to understand affairs of our neighbours. To the superficial everything is simple, to the professional many things are puzzling. See this, it's a short summary by one of our cleverest bilingual journalists: http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/russia-turnout-putin-election-fraud.html
Putin's party, United Russia, only has a small majority now.   I am depressed to see that the vote for the Communists rose as well the vote for the fascist Либерально-Демократическая Партия России (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia).   More than 80% of the votes in the election were cast for parties that do not fundamentally believe in an open and free society.

It is four years till the next Duma election, but only a short time till the next Russian presidential election.   Though I am quite certain the election will see the return of Пу́тин as president.
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