On Sunday, the Single Voting Day was held in Russia. The elections and referenda at various levels were held in 77 from 83 Russian regions. According to the observers, the Sunday elections were dirtier than the Russian federal parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, a low turnout was reported at the polling stations. The experts explained this fact with “electoral tiredness.” United Russia remains a dominating party by all indicators.
The Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily recalled that for the first time since 2005 the country has elected governors in a direct vote. On May 2, 2012, former President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law, which restored the direct gubernatorial elections with some restrictions. The most important of them is the so-called municipal filter, when a candidate is to gain the support from five to ten percent of deputies in at least three fourths of municipal districts in the region.
The first regional election campaign after the federal elections in 2011-2012 showed that United Russia remains a dominating party, the Kommersant daily noted. Leader of the United Russia Party, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted this fact with satisfaction on Sunday. Meanwhile, the liberalization of party and election legislation led to new parties, which were running in the elections, reducing the election results of the system opposition parties. A low turnout became the main result of this election campaign. The experts believe that United Russia has won a victory mostly thanks to the passive attitude of voters. The opposition called the figures of turnout as “catastrophe”.
A low turnout became the main unexpected event at these elections, as United Russia won a victory in all regions and at elections of various levels with a low turnout, the newspaper noted. The Russian Central Elections Commission has stated a lower turnout in general on Sunday. For instance, the turnout reached about 34% at the gubernatorial elections in the Bryansk, Ryazan and Amur Regions and about 30% in the Novgorod Region. The situation was even worse at the city parliamentary elections, as the turnout was only 11% in Vladivostok and 14% in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
The protesting movement held its actions only in Moscow, while the voters protested in the regions just not going to the polling stations, and this is not some organized action, but each person decided not to vote himself, State Duma Vice-Speaker from the LDPR Igor Lebedev believes. According to him, people do not believe that their voting can change anything, moreover, people are usually less interested in regional elections than federal elections.
Massive violations can be divided in two big categories, secretary of the bureau of the A Just Russia regional office council Vladislav Vakayev told the RBC daily. These violations were made in the way of putting on the lists of voters people, who allegedly work at the enterprises with the nonstop production cycle, even in those districts, where there are no such enterprises and through “modernized merry-go-round voting.”
State Duma deputy Olga Alimova (from the CPRF) has found the pensioners, who were brought to the polling station number 387 massively in Saratov, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. These pensioners “voted unanimously for one party”. At the polling station number 1519 “two cases of stuffing with sham ballots were reported,” she said. The CPRF official website posted a report of the observers about “the ghost houses”, which make it possible to increase steeply the number of voters: particularly, “the ghost dwellers” of the pulled down residential house and two residential houses, which do not exist at all, and several houses, where there are no flats at all, only the offices and shops, could vote at the polling station number 25 in the Volzhsky district. Meanwhile, State Duma deputy Olga Batalina (from United Russia) stated that the Communist accusations are only an attempt to distract attention from “their own dirty actions.” United Russia had allegedly reported “the facts of bribing voters.”
The Kremlin affirms that the federal authorities refused from a tough regulation of the election campaign at all levels this time. A source in the presidential administration told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily the federal authorities have taken the course to the transition from political technologies to politics: “The political technology is the tactics. The politics is the strategy. The pursuit for the percentage of votes is unpromising. High percentages deprive the authorities of legitimacy, if people do not believe in it. The election struggle is more important than high percentages of votes.” The new strategy was not always maintained during the election campaign, the source noted, “Sometimes the local authorities were still seeking to use the administrative resource.”