Russia’s regional and municipal elections on Sunday resulted in a shellacking of Putin’s United Russia that few noticed. Putin’s United Russia failed to achieve majorities in seven of the twelve regional elections. In Kirov and Kaliningrad, United Russia got less than forty percent. These results were overshadowed by events in Japan and the Middle East and few observers know how to interpret them.
To understand the failure of United Russia to win majorities, consider a U.S. election in which Republican candidates are banned, and Democratic candidates vie against candidates of the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Mountain Party and THEY FAIL TO WIN A MAJORITY. This was the case in Russia on Sunday.
United Russia candidates contended against the shop-worn Communists and the “powerhouse” “Patriots of Russia” and the “Right Cause.” Candidates from the crippled Yabloko party and independent candidate were largely excluded from the election lists. In all, fifty percent of candidates from parties without seats in legislatures and forty percent of independent candidates were not allowed to register for elections. Only United Russia candidates were allowed in the media or granted permission to rent space for meetings. Election violations in favor of United Russia were recorded in virtually all precincts.