Managing Elections in Russia. Mechanisms and Problems

Authors:

  • Carl Holmberg

Publish date: 2008-02-25

Report number: FOI-R--2474--SE

Pages: 116

Written in: Swedish

Keywords:

  • Ryssland
  • Putin
  • Medvedev
  • politik
  • inrikespolitik
  • val
  • Duma
  • president
  • demokrati
  • opposition
  • regioner
  • fusk
  • Enade Ryssland
  • valdeltagande
  • väljarkår
  • GAS Vybory
  • rösträkning
  • suverän demokrati
  • styrd demokrati
  • Russia
  • politics
  • domestic policy
  • election
  • democracy
  • regions
  • fraud
  • United Russia
  • turnout
  • electorate
  • vote counting
  • sovereign democracy

Abstract

This report analyses the political system in Russia with the focus on the Duma election in 2007 and shows how the current system is managed by the power elite. It also reveals the complex nature of the system, which is managed by more than just a few individuals and which serves the interests of many different economic and political interests. It is often suggested that Putin´s support is broad and stable and that he has created a stable political system, but also that elections in Russia are not free and fair. However through scrutinising the facts available, this report shows that Putin´s support is not as large as is generally perceived. n the Duma election of 2007, which was made into a vote of personal confidence in President Putin, the active support from the electorate was at most slightly less than half, and possibly as low as one-third, and was generally lowest in more economically developed parts of Russia. Obvious fraud and manipulation occured in many parts of thecountry eithout adequate countermeasures being taken by the authorities. The political system is also not as stable as is usually claimed. Its nature is to hide conflicts under the surface but elections also unify various clans of economic and political interests in alliances, sush as the dominant party United Russia. This prevents the internal struggle for power within the power elite from being reflected in the formal political system. The political system in Russia is managed in a great variety of ways, both directly or indirectly. The main result is that the voters are not presented with any alternative to the power elite during elections, because alternative political forces cannot act within the system. The political opposition is either passive, or, by definition, destabilising for the system.

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