In Russia, the Unified Voting Day has concluded. In different regions of the country, governors and deputies of various levels were elected for regional parliaments and other local bodies. The «official» results were not surprising.
The three-day «election day» passed without surprises or unexpected twists; «United Russia» dominated everywhere. As expected, the ruling party will retain the majority in regional parliaments. The only possible surprise was in Yekaterinburg, where «Yabloko» provisionally entered the city’s duma. Russian authorities also did everything possible to ensure that candidates from the ruling party or those supported by the authorities also won in regions where governor elections were held this year. The elections seemed more like a simulation game where Kremlin loyalists were reshuffled. «United Russia» won 19 out of 21 governor elections. In many regions with an abnormal affection for incumbent leaders, the results were also extraordinary; many governors garnered more than 85% of the votes.
The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation claimed that the most extensive regional elections in the last five years took place without serious violations. However, as usual, there were numerous incidents of ballot stuffing, scandals, and voter bribery. For example, in Yekaterinburg, a university published instructions on voting for «United Russia.» The document appeared on September 8 in the official group of the Ural Technical Institute of Communications and Informatics. The instructions told students that the correct vote was to vote for the ruling party. In most regions, politicians who could potentially complicate the elections, and in some cases even win them, did not participate.
Regarding turnout across Russia, high turnout rates were reported in some places, but it is safe to say that the official turnout does not correspond to the actual number of voters.
However, the absence of competition and intrigue did not prevent unprecedented pressure on candidates and observers during these elections. The elections were characterized not only by ballot fraud and violations but also by attacks on observers and deputies (of course, not from «United Russia»).