Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Russian election preview

Russia is going to the polls on September 18th. I'll be covering this in greater detail as we near it, for now, a simple projection.

248 UR +10
72 CPRF -20
68 JR +4
62 LDPR +6

This is based on polls, as well as past 'poll error' between Russian polls and results. I'll go into greater detail what this all means, but in short "Putin retains Majority" and "Not much changes" are the two big stories.

Edited to add:
I thought I should explain a bit about the parties.

UR - United Russia - Putin's Party. This is the party of the administration. Having a "Party of the Administration" is not that unusual, France has had a number of these. It's seen as covering the political space between "Centrism" and "Nationalism", including the great bulk of "Conservatism"

CPRF - Communist Party of the Russian Federation - Communists. Unclear how left the party actually is, but signs point to them being the successor to the Soviet Union. It's quite likely if they returned to power that Russia would go back down the USSR path, and retain it's very strong governmental controls.

LDPR - Liberal Democratic Party of Russia - Nationalists. Don't be confused by the name. This party is the "racist party" for Russia. The ideals of this party are focused on the old Russian Empire, though the party is not monarchist. It's best known for being extremely anti-west, and supports unification with Belarus. This party would also retain governmental controls.

JR - Just Russia - Left. This party is very difficult to classify traditionally. If one keeps in mind Russia's current political system, it becomes much easier to explain how this party works. Just Russia has been created to be the "alternative" to the sitting government. Those who are "in power" do not want either the Communists or the LDPR in power, but know that under a 'Democracy' it is possible for UR to eventually lose. JR is the alternative that is "supposed" to win in such a situation. It's unclear how much it would liberalize governmental controls, but signs point to not much.

United Russia has not always been "in power" and at one time, it was seen as the "alternative" to the Yeltsin Administration, until it was able to absorb that party. As such there is some precedent to suggest that, perhaps, Just Russia may be government at some point. If this ever happens, don't expect a radical 180 degree change, but it could also signal a warming towards the west.

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