September 20, 2016 by AK
More notes on last Sunday’s Duma election in Russia.
The elephant in the room. Alexei Navalny – the de-facto opposition leader in my view, although not in everyone else’s – was barred from running, as was his party.
The silence of the urbanites. In the previous post, I called Russian non-voters political idiots, but in no way is it related to the Idiotismus des Landlebens. The lowest turnout, it seems, was recorded in Russia’s major cities (RBC’s map shows preliminary data for 6 pm, two hours before the closing of the polls), including St. Petersburg, Moscow and Novosibirsk. As usual, the North Caucasus reported sky-high turnout. Elsewhere, “ethnic” republics also reported a higher participation rate than most central, northwestern and Siberian regions.
Exit polls vs reported results. The exit polls cited by RBC showed 44% for United Russia (UR); the end result turned out 54%. Via Mark Galeotti’s tweet, a link to a piece explaining other reasons why UR’s score seems suspicious. I have not checked the author’s logic so caveat lector, as usual.
A higher score with fewer votes. As far as the number of votes is concerned, UR’s 49% share of the proportional vote in 2011 corresponded to 32.4 million votes while its 54% share in 2016 was achieved with only 28.5 million votes, a decrease of 3.9 million or 12%. (That does not include the first past the post results.) But the number of people voting for the “communists,” “A Just Russia,” and Yabloko (in contrast to the “liberal democrats” – I got this one wrong in the original version of the post) crashed through the floor since they received smaller cuts of a smaller pie.