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Collage: Ksenia Telmanova

Table of contents

Introduction 

Key findings 

1. Number of registered parties at the beginning of the election campaign 

2. Nomination of candidates and party lists 

2.1. Summarized data on the most significant elections 

Elections of the deputies of the legislative bodies of the regions of the Russian Federation 

2.2. Elections of the deputies of the representative bodies of the municipalities of administrative centers (capitals) of the constituent entities (regions) of the Russian Federation 

2.3. Elections of senior officials of the constituent entities (regions) of the Russian Federation 

3. Particularities of party selection of candidates Primaries in United Russia 

3.1. Results of the primaries campaign in United Russia 

3.2. The process of selecting candidates in other parties and organizations 

4. Obstructing the nomination of candidates and party lists 



Introduction

The 2022 elections are being held in a unique context of the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine. This situation destroyed the old well-established electoral strategies and challenged both the election campaign due to a large-scale attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens (described in the previous report) and fundraising in the face of negative social and economic expectations. Indicative was the public discussion of the possibility to postpone or cancel this year's elections, which continued almost until the start of the election campaign, and led to an atypical — for the spring pre-election period — silence of the main candidates and parties: they would not make loud statements and even played for time to announce their election ambitions.

This extraordinary situation is topped by the specific conditions typical for the Russian elections following the federal elections a year after. In addition to the very set of the regions (which are dominated by the regions controlled by their administrations), additional challenged are always typical for election campaigns in such years:

  • organizational and financial challenges after a resource-consuming federal election campaign;
  • fatigue of management and political activists;
  • challenges about new mobilization of voters who have just voted in federal elections.

This report — the second one since the start of the election campaigns — focuses on the outcomes of nominating candidates and party lists in the largest elections on the Single Voting Day (SVD) on September 11, 2022. At that, real competition degree will become clear only after the registration stage is completed; and there will be stand-alone reports on the registration stage. The previous report reviewed a legal and political context of this year's election campaigns.



Key findings

  1. The context of this year’s elections (the deepening process of departization, a large-scale attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens against the backdrop of hostilities, the general environment in the society) led to the confusion of political players of different views, to demobilization of a significant part of the society, and, consequently, to a noticeable decrease in the willingness to participate in the elections. This year, the political field has shrunk to become the smallest in the last decade, i.e., since the liberalization of the political party system after the mass protests in 2011.
  2. The departization process — reviewed by Golos in its previous report — clearly emerged right at the candidate nomination stage. The number of the political parties eligible to participate in elections decreased from 75 parties at the beginning of 2016 to 29 parties in June 2022. Of these 29 parties, election lists of only 8 parties will participate in more than half of the 13 largest elections to representative bodies where there is a proportional component: five parliamentary parties that nominate their lists in all or almost all elections, as well as such parties as the Communists of Russia, Rodina, and the Party of Pensioners, who nominated 8-9 party lists. Another 12 parties show barely noticeable activity, which is rather formal: The Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko (RUDP Yabloko), the Civic Platform, the Russian Party of Freedom and Justice, the Green Alternative, the Party of Business, the Party For Justice, Russian Ecological Party "The Greens", the Cossack Party of the Russian Federation, the Party of Growth, the party of Russia’s Rebirth, the Democratic Party of Russia, and the Russian All-People's Union. The remaining 9 parties out of 29 (or 31%) eligible to participate in the elections did not nominate a single candidate in the main elections to legislative assemblies and city councils of the administrative centers of the regions.
  3. The indicators of formal competition (average number of nominated party lists) are also the lowest since 2012. Eight election lists per region have been nominated to regional parliament elections. Compared to the elections of 2012 and 2017, when the elections were held in the same set of regions, one can see a decreased competition (twice as less vs 2012) at the nomination stage already. If compared to other years (and to a different set of regions, respectively), the current election campaign also has lowest indicator since 2012. In the elections to the representative bodies of regional centers in seven cities with a proportional or mixed election system, the degree of formal competition at the nomination stage was higher than last year, but lower than in all previous years (including 2012 and 2017, when the set of elections coincided). The average number of nominated single-mandate candidates is also one of the smallest in recent years.
  4. Only 6 parties out of 29 (21%) are actively trying to participate in the elections of the heads of regions (in more than half of the regions): the Parliamentary Four, the Party of Pensioners, and the Communists of Russia. It should be noted that this number does not include one of the “parliamentary” parties: the New People.
  5. In a situation of confusion and uncertainty, major political players had very quiet pre-campaign and candidate selection stages. It seems that the difficult situation impacted even United Russia, which would always hold primaries in spring thus consolidating its position as an information monopolist. However, this year's primaries were almost invisible. In fact, this year has completed the degradation of this institution, which has become a purely formal procedure, a business game of electronic stuffing, and an administrative mobilization of voters.
  6. Other parties shortlisted their candidates mostly non-publicly as before, and they did not have any voting with the engagement of non-party voters. There were only PR initiatives to rather search for and invite candidates (which may partially mean not a competition between party candidates, but a need to identify candidates at all).
  7. There have been years of pressure on potential candidates who have been undesirable to government authorities at various levels; and in 2022, new challenges caused by the military actions in Ukraine added on top: a radical restriction of the freedom of expression and the associated administrative and criminal prosecution cases for “discrediting” the Russian Armed Forces. At that, candidates are under pressure regardless of their political views: from liberal to communist. It cannot be said that this kind of persecution is used purposefully as a form of pressure in the context of elections against potential candidates, but the very fact that such a form of pressure exists also adds to the common environment of pressure on independent political forces and activists.



1. Number of registered parties at the beginning of the election campaign

The number of political parties in Russia continues to decline steadily concurrently with the development of departization (the reduction of using the proportional electoral system in regional and municipal elections). This largely makes it senseless for the parties to exist at the regional and local levels, since a party candidate who has no registration privileges actually needs to submit more documents to participate in an election than an independent candidate (in addition to all statements and filled model documents one should also file documents about his/her political party).

It should be reminded that the number of the parties eligible to participate in elections was maximum in late 2015 and in early 2016: 75 parties. We believe the number of the parties eligible to participate in elections is a more adequate indicator than the number of registered parties, since registered parties that are not eligible to participate in elections (i.e. they have not managed to register their branches at the justice authorities in more than half of the regions during this period) have a life span of about six months only.

After 2015, the dynamics in the number of the parties eligible to participate in elections at the moment when the Single Voting Day (SVD) campaign was launched (i.e. in mid-June) is presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Dynamics in the number of the parties eligible to participate in elections at the moment when the Single Voting Day (SVD) campaign was launched

  • Number of parties

The number of the parties eligible to participate in elections gradually decreased to 29 by June 2022. In 2021 only, three parties were liquidated: the Party of Social Reforms — Profits from Natural Resources to the People; the International Party of Russia; and the Political Party of Good Deeds, Protection of Children, Women, Freedom, Nature and Pensioners, Against Violence against Animals. All three parties were liquidated by the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia for insufficient participation in elections (they only count cases when party lists were present or party candidates were on the ballots on the election day, and they don’t consider nominations to elections). At that, the court’s decisions state that the International Party of Russia participated in elections in 13 regions only over the seven years of its existence; the Good Deeds Party participated in elections in 3 regions only over its life; and the Party of Social Reforms participated in elections only in 2 regions.

The list of the parties registered as of July 2022 includes 31 parties, but 2 of them are not eligible to participate in the elections: 1) Patriots of Russia, whose self-liquidation has been dragging on since 2021; 2) Russia of the Future, registered on December 15, 2021, and it has not become eligible to participate in elections (this is not the first time when a party with this name gets registered to prevent the registration of the party of Alexei Navalny’s supporters, which has the same name; so, apparently, this party will face the same fate as the previous parties).

Out of the remaining 29 parties, 23 parties gathered the election participation momentum in seven years that is sufficient to keep them alive: they participated either in the 2016 State Duma elections or in the 2018 Russian Presidential Elections or in the Regional Parliament Elections in 17 regions at least or in Municipal Elections in at least 43 regions. The remaining 6 parties are less than seven years old so far; however, 2 of them participated in the 2021 State Duma elections and secured their right to exist for a long time. Four parties will be liquidated within the next few years, considering their extremely low activity.



2. Nomination of candidates and party lists

2.1. Summarized data on the most significant elections

Table 1 presents generalized data on the participation of political parties in nominating candidates and party lists in the most significant elections: the key regional elections and the main elections to the representative bodies of administrative centers.

Data on six regional elections and seven elections in regional centers are taken from the lists and summed up. As the candidates nominated in majoritarian districts are concerned, the data for 14 gubernatorial elections, 5 regional parliamentary elections, and 11 elections in administrative centers are summarized. In total, 427 majoritarian mandates will be distributed in these elections (14 gubernatorial elections, 151 regional parliament elections, and 262 regional center elections). The parties presented in the table are placed in the descending order depending on the number of their nominated candidates.

Table 1. Nominations of candidates by political parties in the most significant elections in 2022

Party Number of lists in the elections
to regional
legislative assemblies
Number of lists in the elections to the councils of the administrative centers of regions Number of majoritarian candidates
United Russia 6 7 420
Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) 6 7 411
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) 6 7 408
Fair Russia - For Truth 6 7 388
New people 6 5 318
Communists of Russia 4 5 173
Party of Pensioners 3 5 130
Rodina 5 4 67
Cossack Party of the Russian Federation 0 0 24
Russian Party of Freedom and Justice 1 0 17
Green Alternative 1 0 15
Party of Growth 0 0 8
Party of Business 1 0 5
RUDP Yabloko 2 1 4
Civic Platform 1 1 3
Party for Justice! 0 1 2
Party of Russia’s Rebirth 0 0 2
Democratic Party of Russia 0 0 1
Russian All-People's Union 0 0 1
The Greens 0 1 0

Parties are divided into several groups by their activity level. The first group includes five parliamentary parties that have nominated their lists in all or almost all elections where there is a proportional component, and these parties have nominated their candidates for more than half of the mandates. Four old parliamentary parties have nominated their lists in all 13 elections, the New People Party has not nominated its lists in Cherkessk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The largest number of candidates has been nominated by United Russia: this party has not nominated its candidates in the gubernatorial elections only in Mari El and in the Yaroslavl region, where incumbent governors self-nominated, and the party did not nominate its candidates in four constituencies in the Krasnodar Territory and in one constituency in Vladivostok.

The second group includes three parties: the Communists of Russia, Rodina, and the Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice (Party of Pensioners). They have nominated 8-9 lists and 67-173 majoritarian candidates.

The third group includes seven parties that have nominated 1-3 lists and up to 17 candidates. These are: Yabloko, the Civic Platform, the Russian Party of Freedom and Justice, the Green Alternative, the Party of Business, the Party For Justice, and The Greens.

The fourth group is the parties that have not nominated any lists, but they have nominated 1-24 candidates. There are five such parties: the Cossack Party of the Russian Federation, the Party of Growth, the Party of Russia’s Rebirth, the Democratic Party of Russia, and the Russian All-People's Union. At the same time, the last three parties have nominated their candidates only in the gubernatorial elections, where they only simulate competition.

Finally, 9 parties out of 29 (31%) parties eligible to participate in the elections have not nominated a single list and not a single candidate in these elections: in fact, there are no traces of public activities of these parties. These are: PARNAS, the Civil Initiative, the Civil Force, the Direct Democracy Party, the Progress Party, the Social Protection Party, the Alternative for Russia, the Small Business Party of Russia, and the People's Patriotic Party of Russia — Power to the People.

Elections of the deputies of the legislative bodies of the regions of the Russian Federation

Data on the participation of party lists in specific elections to regional parliaments is presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Nomination of party lists in the elections of deputies of the legislative bodies of the regions in 2022

Party North Ossetia-Alania Udmurtia Krasnodar Territory Penza region Saratov region Sakhalin
United Russia + + + + + +
CPRF + + + + + +
LDPR + + + + + +
Fair Russia - For Truth + + + + + +
New People + + + + + +
Communists of Russia Certification denied + + +
Party of Pensioners + + +
Rodina + + + + +
Russian Party of Freedom and Justice +
Green Alternative +
Party of Business +
RUDP Yabloko + Certification denied
Civic Platform +
Total certified lists 8 9 6 6 8 11

Table 2 shows that formally the highest competition is expected in Sakhalin and Udmurtia, where 11 and 9 party lists have been certified, respectively.

In total, 48 lists were nominated in the elections to regional parliaments or 8 lists per region on average. The highest number of lists (11) was nominated in Sakhalin, and the smallest number of lists (6) was nominated in the Krasnodar Territory and in the Penza region. It makes sense to compare these data with the data from 2012 and 2017, when elections were held in the same six regions (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Number of party lists nominated in elections to regional legislative assemblies

  • Number of nominated party lists

In 2017, 57 lists were nominated, or 9.5 lists per region. In 2012, elections were also held in these six regions, where 83 lists were nominated (13.8 per region), while the number of the parties eligible to participate in elections was about the same as today. Thus, compared to the elections in 2012 and 2017, one can already see a decreasing competition at the nomination stage in these regions.

When compared with other years (with a different set of regions, respectively), 8.7 lists per region were nominated on average in 2018, 9.3 lists per region were nominated on average in 2019; 11.4 lists per region were nominated on average in 2020, and 8.3 lists per region were nominated on average in 2021. In 2012-2016, the lowest competition at the nomination stage (9.5) was in 2016. Thus, the current campaign shows the lowest rate since 2012.

893 candidates were nominated, including 844 candidates nominated by parties and 49 self-nominated candidates, in the main elections to regional parliaments across majoritarian districts. On average, 5.9 candidates per mandate were nominated. This indicator is higher than in 2017: there were 5.3 candidates per mandate in 2017 (and there were fewer mandates). Over the past six years, this indicator was higher only in 2019 (6.9). However, the number of self-nominated candidates has decreased compared to 2017 in both absolute and relative terms.



2.2. Elections of the deputies of the representative bodies of the municipalities of administrative centers (capitals) of the constituent entities (regions) of the Russian Federation

Data on the participation of party lists in specific city council elections are presented in Table 3.

Table 3. Nomination of party lists in the elections to the councils of the administrative centers of regions in 2022

Party Cherkessk Kyzyl Barnaul Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky Kirov Kursk Pskov
United Russia + + + + + + +
Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) + + + + + + +
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) + + + + + + +
Fair Russia - For Truth + + + + + + +
New people + + + + +
Communists of Russia + + + + +
Party of Pensioners + + + + +
Rodina + + + +
RUDP Yabloko +
Civic Platform +
Party for Justice! +
The Greens +
Total nominated lists 7 5 9 8 8 7 6

51 lists were nominated (7.3 per city) in the elections to the representative bodies of regional centers in seven cities with a proportional or mixed election system. The highest number of lists (9) was nominated in Barnaul, and the smallest number of lists (5) was nominated in Kyzyl.

Thus, formally, the most competitive are the elections to the Barnaul City Duma today, where there are nine nominated party lists: lists of five parliamentary parties, as well as the Communists of Russia, the Pensioners' Party, Rodina and The Greens. It should be noted that last year, in the elections to the regional parliament in the Altai Territory, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation got 24% of the votes, and the Communists of Russia, which were listed first in the regional ballot (the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was listed first in the federal elections, too) got 12% of the votes. Obviously, this result was due to the confusion that arose among voters when they were choosing between parties with similar names and almost indistinguishable logos. Once these results of the two communist parties are summed up, one would get 36%, which is 2 percentage points more than United Russia.

In other years, the party list nomination landscape was as follows: 12.1 in 2012; 18.0 in 2013; 10.7 in 2014; 9.0 in 2015; 7.4 in 2016; 8.6 in 2017; 8.25 in 2018; 7.9 in 2019; 8.3 in 2020; 6.1 in 2021 (Figure 3).

Figure 3. The number of the party lists nominated in the elections to the representative bodies of the administrative centers of the regions (average number per city)

  • Number of nominated party lists (on average)

Thus, in this case the degree of formal competition at the nomination stage was higher than last year, but lower than in all previous years (including 2012 and 2017, when the set of elections coincided).

Separately from that, it is worth looking at a few more elections taking place under a mixed system. These are the urban constituency elections in the Moscow region (Zaraisky, Klinsky, Naro-Fominsky and Ruzsky constituencies) and the elections in two more cities with more than 100 thousand voters: Norilsk and Stary Oskol. Of the 6 cities, 5 parties nominated their lists and/or candidates in 2 cities, 7 parties nominated their lists and/or candidates in 2 cities, and 8 parties nominated their lists and/or candidates in 2 other cities. Only four old parliamentary parties nominated themselves in all 6 cities. The New People Party nominated its lists and/or candidates in 5 cities (except Stary Oskol), and the Party of Pensioners nominated its lists and/or candidates in 5 cities (except Zaraysk). Six more parties nominated their lists and/or candidates in one city only: RUDP Yabloko in Naro-Fominsk; the Party of Growth and the Green Alternative in Klin; the Communists of Russia and Rodina in Ruza; The Greens in Norilsk.

Thus, a significant reduction in the number of parties did not lead to a noticeable increase in the share of active parties. In fact, there are only eight active parties, and the activism of 12 other parties is extremely low. 1,658 candidates were nominated (including 1,473 candidates nominated by parties and 185 self-nominees) in the main elections to the councils of the regional centers in majoritarian districts. 6.3 candidates per mandate were nominated on average. This indicator is higher than in 2017: there were 7 candidates per mandate in 2017. It was 6.4 in 2018, 6.1 in 2019, 7.4 in 2020, and 5.6 in 2021. Thus, this indicator is one of the lowest over the past 6 years (it was lower only in 2019 and 2021) (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. The number of nominees per mandate in the elections to the representative bodies of the administrative centers of the regions in majoritarian constituencies (on average)

  • Number of nominees per mandate (on average)

Separately from that, it is worth reviewing the nomination of candidates to governor elections and the participation of political parties in this process. Governor candidates do not really benefit from being nominated by political parties, since there is actually no “parliamentary privilege” there: all candidates still need to get through the so-called “municipal filter”, i.e., to collect signatures of municipal heads and deputies. However, many voters perceive gubernatorial elections as the main regional elections, and these elections have a higher symbolic value for the parties. At that, the “municipal filter” prevents a number of candidates and parties from even trying to nominate their own candidate: to pass the filter in almost all cases, the representatives of United Russia should help, which in practice means that the candidates shall be agreed by the Internal Policy Departments of regional administrations.



2.3. Elections of senior officials of the constituent entities (regions) of the Russian Federation

Data on nominating governor election candidates is presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Nominations to the heads of regions in 2022

Party   Republic Region         Total candidates
                           
  Buryatia Karelia Mari El Udmurtia Vladimirskaya Kaliningradskaya Kirovskaya Novgorodskaya Ryazanskaya Saratovskaya Sverdlovskaya Tambovskaya Tomskaya Yaroslavskaya Total candidates
CPRF 1 1   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
LDPR 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   1 13
United Russia 1 1   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   12
Fair Russia - For Truth   1 1 1 1 1   1 1 1 1 1 1   11
Party of Pensioners   1 1 1   1   1 1       1 1 8
Communists of Russia   1   1   1 1         1   1 6
Self-nomination     2       2 (lost their status)             2 6 (2 lost their status)
Rodina   1         1   1 1         4
New people 1 1                 1       3
Party of Growth   1     1                   2
RUDP Yabloko               1           1 2
Party for Justice!   1   1                     2
Party of Russia’s Rebirth       1           1         2
Russian Party of Freedom and Justice   1                         1
Democratic Party of Russia (DPR)   1                         1
Cossack Party   1                         1
Russian All-People's Union                     1       1
Total nominated candidates 4 13 5 8 5 6 7 (2 lost their status) 6 6 6 6 5 4 7 88

The table shows that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia became the leaders in terms of the number of the nominated candidates: they nominated candidates for the elections of the heads of 13 regions. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation did not nominate anyone in Mari El only, and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia did not nominate anyone in the Tomsk region.

United Russia does not formally participate in the elections of the heads of two regions: Mari El and the Yaroslavl region. The incumbent heads of the both regions self-nominated. At the same time, self-nominated candidates will be on the ballots in these two regions only, because in the Kirov region, where self-nomination has been possible since the time of Governor Nikita Belykh, both self-nominated candidates have already lost their candidate status.

Fair Russia - For Truth did not nominate its candidates in Buryatia, Kirov and Yaroslavl regions. Very weak participation of the fifth “parliamentary” party — The New People, — which nominated its candidates in only three regions (Buryatia, Karelia and Sverdlovsk region), in the gubernatorial elections is striking. As this indicator is concerned, they immediately lost to the Party of Pensioners, which was the spoiler project of the Communists of Russia and the Rodina party.

All parties can also be divided into four groups as far as the participation in the gubernatorial elections is concerned. The first group is the old “parliamentary four”, which participates in almost all elections (in 11-13 regions out of 14 regions). The second group is the parties that try participating in elections in more than half of the regions (6-8 regions). Only two parties belong to this group: the Party of Pensioners and the Communists of Russia. The third group included 10 parties that nominated 1-4 candidates: Rodina, the New People, the Party of Growth, RUDP Yabloko, the Party For Justice!, the Party of Russia’s Rebirth, the Russian Party of Freedom and Justice, the Democratic Party of Russia, the Cossack Party of the Russian Federation, and the Russian All-People's Union. The fourth group consists of the remaining 13 parties, which did not even try to nominate their candidates.

Thus, only 6 parties out of 29 (21%) actively participate in the elections of the heads of regions (in more than half of the regions), and this number does not include one of the “parliamentary” parties: the New People.

In total, 88 candidates were nominated in the gubernatorial elections (although two of them have already lost their status) or 6.3 candidates per region on average. The smallest number of candidates was in Buryatia and the Tomsk region (4 candidates in each of them), and the highest number of candidates (13) was in Karelia. In September 2021, 51 candidates were nominated in 9 regions in the gubernatorial elections (5.7 per region on average). In 2020, there were 8.1 candidates per region on average when nominated. In 2019, 163 candidates were nominated in 16 regions, i.e. 10.2 candidates per region (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Number of candidates nominated in the elections of heads of regions (on average)

  • Number of candidates (on average)

However, the number of nominated candidates says little about real competition in gubernatorial elections, since it is known from many years of experience that in most cases four or five candidates can pass the “municipal filter”.



3. Particularities of party selection of candidates

This year, selecting and nominating candidates by parties is peculiar because of the obvious confusion of political players. It is no coincidence that Sergei Mironov, Chairman of the Fair Russia party, at a meeting of the State Duma on May 17 proposed to cancel the elections at all: “We should all be as one, but what will happen in the elections? We have to fight each other. All of us in this hall support the President, the special military operation, and we have to talk about contradictions during the elections.” The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is obviously in confusion, which may not criticize the authorities in the current foreign policy conditions, especially since the authorities are fulfilling some of the proposals to “return” the territories of the former USSR, which the Communist Party has also advocated for. Confusion reigned throughout the spring in the camp of the “liberal” opposition: many incumbent politicians, potential candidates and activists, who could help with the campaign, have partly left the country and have partly been simply demotivated.

It seems that the difficult situation impacted even United Russia, which would always hold open primaries in spring: a preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV), thanks to which the party has cemented itself as a de facto information monopoly in most regions over the past decade in an environment where others parties have often experienced challenges with the very search for candidates. However, this year's primaries were almost invisible.

Other parties either do not have opportunities to fully participate in political life or they are too limited in their political maneuvers due to formal and informal relations with the authorities, which is reflected in their personnel policy, in the development of self-censorship, and in voluntary refusal to pay attention to a number of socially significant, but uncomfortable problems (uncomfortable from the point of view of their relations with the authorities).

Other parties’ attempts to do something similar have been sporadic over the years and they have not been continued by most of them (People's Freedom Party (PARNAS, formelly known as the Russian Republican Party) in 2015-2016; the Green Alliance in 2016; the Party of Growth in 2016; RUDP Yabloko in some regional and municipal elections; the Left Front in the mayor elections in Moscow and in some gubernatorial elections, when the winners of the primaries were proposed to be nominated by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). An experiment of “non-partisan” primaries among the candidates with aligned political views, which was non-standard for the Russian political practice, was held in constituency #14 in the election of the deputies of the Moscow City Duma, which took place on April 21, 2019).

In general, the general degradation of the party-political system and the “political hibernation” of the vast majority of the formally existing parties in recent years led to the point where the party-political system was becoming less and less reflective of the existing public sentiments, thus creating a political vacuum, which already started to be filled by non-institutional political and social activities of various informal associations built around specific politicians or their groups in 2018–2021.

As a result, the process of selecting and nominating candidates was very quiet and behind the scenes — even in case of United Russia — in 2022.

Primaries in United Russia

Prior to 2012, the primaries of United Russia had been a constantly changing pilot project (from voting by “assemblies” based on the “one meeting (platform) is one vote” principle to the system of electors representing the party organizations themselves and the partner organizations from the All-Russia People's Front (ONF) in 2011 on a parity basis).

United Russia has been expanding and diversifying the primaries technologies in the country’s regions since 2012. Previously, a semi-decorative procedure resembled real elections more and more every year, but only intra-party elections: with polling stations, election committees, visual campaigning, wars of compromising materials, contesting the voting results, etc. This process had been on the rise until 2018, but after electoral challenges emerged in the party after getting the results of the September 2018 elections, this process started curtailing gradually in terms of scale and media coverage.

Since the ratings of United Russia started falling against the backdrop of the pension reform in 2018 (which became obvious following the results of the autumn elections), the objectives previously addressed by preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) turned out to be in dissonance with the two political technology responses of the authorities to the falling ratings of United Russia:

  • shrinkage of the proportional component in the regional and local elections (i.e., weakening party structures’ influence on shaping the deputy corps);
  • public distancing of the authorities and their candidates from United Russia in the most challenging regions to avoid negative connotations.

In such context, excessive stakes on preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) and additional attention to United Russia turned out to be excessive and even harmful for some candidates. The preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) campaigns have been curtailing since 2019 as far as their scope and publicity are concerned. In 2020, the pandemic strengthened this process, and in 2021, when there was no real incentive to remind voters about United Russia once again, the campaign was very quiet and without mass agitation. There was only online voting in 43 regions out of 85 (including Moscow), and 42 regions out of 85 had a blended voting format: people could vote online and offline at the polling stations. In fact, before that, the electoral technology at the 2021 primaries turned into a business game of administrative mobilization of voters (and, in some cases, election results were clearly rigged). In fact, the only informational occasion was numerous reports about state employees and staff of various enterprises being forced to participate in preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV).

The 2022 primaries actually completed the degradation of the institution of primaries, which, in the context of hostilities and actively circulating rumors — until May 2022 — about the possibility of abolishing elections at all, has become a purely formal procedure, a business game of electronic stuffing, and an administrative mobilization of voters.

In 2022, degradation of the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) process was especially noticeable due to its extreme informational secrecy: the effective voting Regulations were not disclosed to the public for the first time. The corresponding section of the party’s website referred to the 2021 PIPV Regulations (there is a new version of the PIPV Regulations adopted each year), and the PIPV Regulations have not been updated at all since 2021. So, as the 2022 preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) is concerned, it is not even possible to analyze changes in the regulatory framework governing the primaries.

United Russia

May 23-29, 2022

ELECTRONIC PRE-VOTE

Electronic preliminary voting for candidates for their subsequent nomination from United Russia as candidate deputies of the legislative (representative) bodies of state power of the constituent entities (regions) of the Russian Federation under Single Voting Day 2022.

The 2022 preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) campaign itself — perhaps due to its overlap with the special military operation — was practically invisible in the public domain. In fact, it was limited to the information posted on the party's websites and single news stories.

According to the Kommersant Newspaper’s data, the participants of the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) of United Russia preferred not to focus on the agenda associated with the special military operation in Ukraine. A few rare examples of mentioning the operation: a video of Vadim Isupov, incumbent deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Udmurtia and businessman, who, as the video says, was recording the video in Ukraine “to save young guys as much as possible” and “to find out what help our servicemen and civilians need”.

This emphasizes the fact that no real competition was planned or expected in this election campaign. They were clearly not willing to draw too much attention to the party by an active pre-election campaign.



3.1. Results of the primaries campaign in United Russia

As disclosure of the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) results is concerned, the situation in 2022 remained as bad as in 2020-2021: there is no summary data on voter turnout (both in absolute numbers and in relative terms) by constituencies and territories in the regions (only some data is known from public statements and press releases). Without the data, it is even unclear what base numbers to use to calculate the percentages of votes for the candidates. Using the absolute number of votes for the candidates, it is impossible to find out the voter turnout in a particular territory (since voters could tick as many candidates in the ballot as they wanted). Candidate data contain only the number of votes cast for them. The very voting results protocols of the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) are not disclosed to the public as well as before.

For the first time, there is no counter of the total number of candidates on the single voting website (although, there have never been any benchmarking tables to find out the number of candidates, their regions and constituencies). There are only fragmentary data on individual regions. E.g., according to the website of the Krasnodar regional branch of United Russia, 492 people were registered at the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) prior to the election of deputies of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory, of which: 195 candidates were in the territorial group under the party list; 245 candidates were in single-mandate constituencies; and 52 candidates applied simultaneously to territorial groups and to single-mandate constituencies. For comparison: 212 people participated in primaries in 2017, which was almost two times less than in 2022.

Sergei Perminov, Deputy Secretary of the United Russia General Council, said at a briefing on the results of the preliminary voting that 9.4% of the voters of the territories where the preliminary voting was held allegedly participated in it (12% of the total number of voters in the regions allegedly registered in the electronic system). Andrey Turchak, Secretary of the General Council, said the most active voters in the preliminary voting were residents of North Ossetia-Alania (17.5% of the total number of voters in the region), Krasnodar Territory (16% of the total number of voters in the region) and Tyva (almost 14% of the total number of voters in the region)7.

10.23% of voters took part in the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV) to the City Council of Vladivostok. The regional branch of the party also approved the results of preliminary voting under by-elections to the Legislative Assembly of Primorsky Territory (single-mandate constituency #23). The voter turnout was lower for some reason: 2.32%; the winner (Sergei Labunets) got 918 votes.

According to the statements made by the party leaders, over 60% of candidates for replacement mandates would be new people, and about 40% of the candidates were young people (those who attended the educational projects and programs of the party). It was reported that the number of representatives of small and medium-sized businesses decreased by 10 percentage points (from 42% to 32%), and the number of candidates from the social sphere increased by 11 percentage points in total. 3% more of party members participated in the 2022 preliminary voting compared to 2017, and the number of women candidates increased. According to the statement made by Dmitry Medvedev, Party Chairman: “Among the candidates voted for by citizens, only 15% have the status of a deputy. A third of the nominees are young people under 35 years.”

According to the party, the competition was 6.5 people per seat (it was 5 people per seat in 2020), but there were no surprises in the intra-party voting: incumbent deputies won in many regions, although there were fewer of them than a year ago: only 15% of candidates were incumbent deputies, and a year earlier, 25% of candidates in local and regional elections were incumbent deputies.

So, in the Krasnodar Territory, 32 incumbent deputies of the Legislative Assembly participated in the primaries, and all of them became election winners in territorial groups and in single-mandate constituencies. The lists of leaders in the preliminary voting in Kuban included business community representatives, mainly large real estate developers: Nikolai Lobachev (CEO of Metrix Development LLC), Alexei Buzmakov (First Deputy CEO of RAMO-M JSC), and Anna Nevzorova (CEO of Metropolis LLC).

In the elections of deputies of the Saratov Regional Duma, ten incumbent deputies got first places in regional groups and in single-mandate constituencies, and Tatyana Erokhina, Head of Reception of the Chairman of the State Duma of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin, got the best result in the region.

In the Penza region, preliminary voting took place in 18 single-mandate constituencies, and incumbent deputies won in 15 constituencies.

In North Ossetia, the first 25 names in the “passing” list to the parliament of the republic completely coincided with the forecast published a week before in one of the local Telegram channels. However, the absence of Alexander Totoonov, former senator from North Ossetia, and Alexei Machnev, current Speaker of the North Ossetia Parliament, in the “passing” list is a surprise. The first place in the regional list in North Ossetia was taken by Vladimir Guriev, influential businessman, who was the key candidate for the senator's seat from the republic.

Incumbent deputies or civil servants of various levels won in most districts in Sakhalin.

Old-time deputies failed to take leading positions in regional lists in a number of cases. E.g., in Udmurtia (where elections to the State Council will be held in the fall), Vladimir Varlamov, Chairman of the State Council’s Standing Committee on Agro-Industrial Complex and deputy of four convocations, and Sofya Shirobokova, deputy of all six convocations, and Mikhail Lebedev, deputy of two convocations, and Igor Strelkov, deputy of the current convocation, lost the preliminary intra-party voting (PIPV).

According to the Press Service of United Russia, 50 incumbent deputies of legislative assemblies and city councils of administrative centers lost the primaries.



3.2. The process of selecting candidates in other parties and organizations

Other parties selected their candidates mostly non-publicly everywhere as before, and they did not have any voting with the engagement of non-party voters.

There were only PR initiatives to rather search for and invite candidates (which may partially mean not a competition between party candidates, but a need to identify candidates at all).

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) has been conducting its traditional internal multi-stage discussions and coordination of candidates with the central leadership of the party.

When compiling its lists, CPRF traditionally does not use the technology of “pre-election locomotives”, relying mainly on local activists; and the main role in the lists is usually played by those who are really active and lead the ongoing party activities in their regions.

As in previous years (starting from 2015), obviously for media purposes (perhaps as some kind of informational response to the actions of United Russia), Fair Russia - For Truth has continued the Fair Call campaign in some regions (in Krasnodar Territory, Sverdlovsk Region and others).

FAIR CALL. FAIR RUSSIA. WE CALL THE BEST!

According to the project, “any person who wants to change the life of his/her homeland for the better, who is not indifferent to the future of our children and grandchildren” could stand as a candidate for the September elections on behalf of the party. To do this, “it is enough to share the position of Fair Russians: the idea of achieving a decent life for all, of overcoming inequality, of protecting the interests of the working person.” To participate in the project, it was necessary to post your CV to the regional branch of the Fair Call and describe why you decided to become a deputy, and the interests of what district in the region you would like to advocate for.

The New People and RUDP Yabloko posted announcements and an application form for candidates to become the party's nominees on their websites.

THE NEW PEOPLE PARTY

INFORMATION FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BECOME A DEPUTY OF THE NEW PEOPLE PARTY

Join the brightest political force in Russia! Our party was founded by Alexei Nechaev in March 2020. Our candidates became deputies of the Legislative Assemblies in the Novosibirsk, Ryazan, Kostroma and Kaluga regions in just half a year. And 5.32% of voters voted for us in September 2021. This is almost three million Russian citizens. Today there are 15 of our deputies advocating for the interests of citizens in the State Duma. And this is only the beginning of our journey! We will participate in regional and municipal elections throughout the country this year. If you have not been involved in politics before, don't worry: we have prepared a special training program for future candidates. The only condition is that the interests of people shall always come first for you! Join the brightest political project in Russia right now!

It should be noted that the public announcement on the website did not help the RUDP Yabloko party very much; the party could nominate only three lists (two lists at the regional level and one list at the municipal level) and four single-mandate constituency candidates in the largest elections of this year. As the activity indicator is concerned, one of the oldest Russian parties is only Top 14 this year.

IF YOU HAVE DECIDED TO BECOME A DEPUTY

If you want to change the city and the district in which you live to the better as well as just the life of people who are your neighbors, if you are an individual of democratic views and if you are interested in how to become a deputy, then your nomination by the Yabloko party is the right choice! The status of the people's representative, speeches at assemblies, meetings with voters, deputy requests will launch your political career. This is a complex, intense, but very interesting work. You will learn how state and local government bodies actually work, you will get a unique work experience as a representative of a collegial body, and most importantly, you will get the opportunity to bring change to the region, city and country through your ideas and proposals. So, if all this is interesting to you and you are ready to act: go ahead! To get started, register. Put down your contacts and CV details in our questionnaire, and you will be contacted by the Yabloko party. Our representatives will tell you when the next elections take place, answer all your questions in detail and send you all the latest information on the upcoming elections. You will be explained how the party trains its future deputies, and you will be invited to take part in training programs. Fill in the application form

Despite the fact that some parties and political projects had visible difficulties finding candidates this year, there were parties and regions where there was an internal competition between candidates. E.g., the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and United Russia were amending their lists until the very last day in Udmurtia; there was a scandal about making the CPRF list of candidates in the elections to the Legislative Assembly of the Penza region this year: two incumbent deputies of the Penza City Duma (Alexei Ivanov and Alexander Trutnev) were not allowed to the party conference. After that, Ivanov announced that he was leaving the party and intended to self-nominate to the elections as an independent candidate.



4. Obstructing the nomination of candidates and party lists

There have been years of pressure on potential candidates who have been undesirable to government authorities at various levels. One can recall the criminal cases against Alexei Navalny that aimed to prevent him from participating in the 2018 Presidential Elections, and the case that was opened against Dmitry Gudkov at the very start of the 2021 State Duma Elections, and the cases against Anton Mirbadalev, LDPR Coordinator in Mari El, and against Yuri Yukhnevich, former Communist Party deputy of the Tyumen Regional Duma (both cases were opened in the spring of 2021), and the case against Nikolai Platoshkin, leader of the For New Socialism movement, and the case against Yulia Galyamina, former Moscow municipal deputy (both cases were opened in 2020). The appendix to the last year's report by Golos, which was on deprivation of many Russian citizens of their passive electoral right, describes the facts of pressure on candidates (including potential candidates).

In 2022, new challenges caused by the military actions in Ukraine added on top: a radical restriction of the freedom of expression and the associated administrative and criminal prosecution cases for “discrediting” the Russian Armed Forces. And the environment in the society in general, as noted above, does not facilitate citizens to actively engage in public politics.

As predicted by the previous Golos’ report, two repressive laws adopted in 2021–2022 have been actively leveraged to put pressure on candidates, in addition to the previously available tools (conviction for violating the procedure for holding public rallies, etc.).

Firstly, Law #157-FZ dated June 4, 2021 is applied to put pressure on candidates and to create obstacles to candidate nominations. This law deprives the right to be elected of the Russian citizens involved in the activities of a public or religious association, other organization, in respect of which a court decision has entered into legal force on liquidation or prohibition of activities in connection with its recognition as an extremist or terrorist organization. The founders, members of the leadership, managers of regional or other structural divisions and their deputies, who held one of these positions within a period starting three years before the date of entry into legal force of the court decision to liquidate or ban the activities of the organization, are deprived of the right to be elected until the expiration of five years from the date of entry into legal force of the court decision to liquidate or ban the activities of the organization. Ordinary participants, members, employees of this organization and other persons involved in its activities within a period starting one year before the date of entry into legal force of a court decision to liquidate or ban the activities of the organization, are deprived of the right to be elected until the expiration of three years from the date of entry into legal force of a court decision to liquidate or ban the activities of the organization. The law establishes that participation can be an expression of support by statements, including statements on the Internet, or other actions (including donations and other assistance). This law, contrary to the rule of law, may have a retroactive effect: it punishes for the actions that were not considered illegal at the time when they were committed. Last year's law enforcement practice proves that laws are enforced absolutely arbitrarily, and the enforcement practice is often not consistent even with the norms and procedures that are prescribed in the law, and it is even more voluntaristic.

Secondly, to limit competition in elections, Federal Law #32-FZ dated March 4, 2022 — “On Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and Articles 31 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation” (known in the mass media as the “Law on fakes” or the “Law on Military Censorship”) — is applied; this is a federal law that establishes criminal liability for disseminating knowingly false information about using the Russian Armed Forces, as well as for public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Russian Armed Forces. The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was supplemented with Article 207.3 “Public dissemination of deliberately false information about using the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.” It provides for criminal liability for disseminating knowingly false information about the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and the maximum punishment under Article is 15 years' deprivation of liberty. Article 280.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has also been adopted: it establishes liability for discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation; and Article 284.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has been adopted: it establishes liability in the form of deprivation of liberty for up to three years for calls made by a Russian citizen to impose sanctions against Russia, Russian citizens or Russian legal entities. The Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation has been supplemented with similar articles providing for administrative liability for the actions established by Articles 207.3 and 284.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, if they do not contain features of a criminal act.

Candidates are under pressure regardless of their political views, from liberal to communist.

So, in the Primorsky Territory (where the elections to the City Duma of Vladivostok will be held on September 11, 2022, and during last year's elections to the Legislative Assembly of the Primorsky Territory, the Communist Party candidates won 8 out of 11 single-mandate constituencies in the city of Vladivostok) the forceful defeat of the city committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has actually started. Artem Samsonov, communist leader in Vladivostok and deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the region, was arrested on November 17, 2021 on suspicion of committing “other acts of a sexual nature against a person under the age of 14 years” (paragraph “b” of part 4 of Article 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; the article provides for 12-20 years' deprivation of liberty). According to the Investigative Committee, Samsonov when communicating with an 11-year-old boy at a recreation center in 2019 allegedly showed him an “object of an intimate nature” (a dildo presumably) and described its purpose. Samsonov said the criminal case was fabricated (according to the defense lawyer, there was no boy in the holiday camp, which was proved by multiple evidences), and Samsonov associated the case with his political activism. Samsonov's team was under pressure. It should be noted that the incumbent regional and city deputies from the Communist Party in the Primorsky Territory acted very independently. E.g., two members of the Communist Party faction spoke against the “special military operation” at a meeting of the Legislative Assembly of the Primorsky Territory on May 27. A little earlier, on May 19, 2022, it became known that Vladivostok City Duma deputy Viktor Kamenshchikov, who left the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in protest against the party's support for the Russia's “special military operation” in Ukraine, left Russia and was detained at the border of Mexico and the United States. Natalia Kochugova, communist and member of the regional parliament, is under criminal prosecution, too. Earlier, Yana Shestun and Alexander Shestun, deputies of the Ussuriysk City Duma, were expelled from the party. Andrey Ishchenko, former deputy of the Legislative Assembly and former candidate for the governor’s position in Primorye (in 2018) and ex-communist, is suspected of fraud.

Nikolai Bondarenko, deputy of the Saratov Regional Duma from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and well-known video blogger, was deprived of his mandate on February 28, 2022: according to the official version, he was deprived of his mandate due to violating federal and regional anti-corruption laws because he had received money from YouTube for displaying ads on his channel. 30 deputies voted to deprive Bondarenko's mandate, and the Communist Party faction left the meeting room in protest. Bondarenko challenged the Duma's decision in the regional court, but his claim was rejected.

In Udmurtia, two candidates for the position of the head of the region are under criminal prosecution. And if the case against Vadim Belousov, State Duma deputy from Fair Russia, was initiated back in 2017 (although, there are suspicions of a political trace in it, since the case is connected with Mikhail Yurevich, former governor of the Chelyabinsk region), then a case against Alexander Syrov, head of the CPRF faction in the City Duma of Izhevsk, on tax evasion was announced only in May 2022, when it became known about his intention to become a candidate for the election of the head of the republic.Ultimately, two out of eight candidates in Udmurtia are under criminal prosecution (the Moscow City Court found Vadim Belousov guilty on August 3, but the decision has not yet come into force and can be challenged).

Numerous cases have been initiated against municipal deputies of the city of Moscow.

Andrey Morev, Head of the Yakimanka metropolitan constituency, was accused of displaying extremist symbols, and he was detained on July 19. The reason was a sticker pasted by someone on the rear window of his car with the symbol of “Smart Voting” * (this is Aleksei Navalny's project to support opposition candidates); however, Morev was against “Smart Voting”*. He was detained earlier, on July 7, at the exit of the Tagansky court, which fined him 50 thousand rubles for discrediting the army (according to Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation). On July 19, Andrei Morev was summoned to a police station again to draw up a protocol on his “offense”. The protocol says, according to the conclusions of the expert, the sticker pasted on the car is “a symbol and paraphernalia of the extremist organization called “Navalny Headquarters”*.” Thus, the deputy “allowed public dissemination, display of the symbols of an extremist organization.

Sergei Smirnov from Maryino was found to have an old post in the Telegram channel with the symbols and recommendations of protest voting. The court convicted him under Part 1 of Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses: now he will not be able to go anywhere for a whole year. Smirnov is known for his hard work to prevent the construction of the South Rokada (a new 40 kms long highway in Moscow) in Maryino and of the South-East Chord.

Maya Baidakova, candidate in the Khamovniki district, was detained immediately, on the same day, after she was nominated by the Yabloko conference on July 7. The court arrested her the next day for 10 days for displaying extremist symbols (Part 1, Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses): these were the symbols of “Smart Voting”* in the hyperlink preview. It was posted last year, shortly after the elections to the State Duma. Maya Baidakova was arrested for 10 days and was deprived of the right to be elected for a year, according to the Sova Information and Analytical Center.

Marina Litvinovich, coordinator of the Choosing Neighbors project for nominating candidates for the autumn municipal elections and former candidate for the State Duma of the Russian Federation, was also accused of displaying extremist symbols. She posted this accusation (part 1 of Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses) in social media on June 28. She learned about her case accidentally by scanning through the card file of the Moscow City Court. Mikhail Lobanov, coordinator of the VyDvizhenie (Nomination) platform for the nomination of independent candidates and ex-CPRF candidate for the State Duma in the Kuntsevsky constituency, was punished twice: on June 24, he was detained for 15 days (in addition to discrediting the army, he was charged with Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses: inciting hatred or enmity), and on June 27, he was ordered to pay 45 thousand rubles for placing an anti-war banner on his balcony. Repeated violations of Article 20.3.3 within a year may become a reason to initiate a criminal case, but the second protocol must be drawn up after the first sentence comes into force. Nikolai Kavkazsky, municipal deputy candidate and former candidate deputy for the State Duma from the RUDP Yabloko party, was detained for 10 days for a post where he wrote he was in the fake lists of Smart Voting*. He was also convicted for displaying extremist symbols.

According to our data, in total, as of July 27, 22 protocols were issued under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (display of extremist symbols) against nominated candidates and 14 more protocols were issued against well-known public opinion leaders (including incumbent deputies) who could participate in the elections as candidates. The logos of Alexei Navalny's projects played the role of “extremist symbols” most often. As of July 27, 2022, 9 court decisions came into force, 15 more cases are at the stage of trial in a court of appeals, 10 cases are pending trial in the court of first instance, and as 2 more cases are concerned, case files have not been received by the court, but protocols have already been drawn up. Punishment statistics: 11 detentions for 10-15 days, 11 fines for 1,000-2,000 rubles each. The type of punishment is unknown in one more case.

Independent politicians are often held accountable for discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation (Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). It cannot be said that this kind of persecution is used purposefully as a form of pressure in the context of elections against potential candidates, but the very fact that such a form of pressure exists also adds to the common environment of pressure on independent political forces and activists.

On June 8, 2022, the wanted database of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police) posted information that Elena Kotenochkina, head of the Krasnoselsky municipal district, was put on the wanted list. It was reported earlier that according to the investigation, Elena Kotenochkina during an open meeting of the Council of Deputies on March 15, 2022 “voiced deliberately false information containing untrue data about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and statements negatively characterizing the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The video recording of the Council meeting was posted on the official website and on other websites in accordance with the decision of the Council of Deputies.” A case was initiated against the head of the Krasnoselsky municipal district for disseminating false information about the actions of the Russian army on the territory of Ukraine (Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, sanctions provide for up to 10 years' deprivation of liberty). Elena Kotenochkina left Russia and was arrested in absentia.

Aleksey Gorinov, municipal deputy of the same Krasnoselsky constituency, was sentenced on July 8, 2022 to 7 years' deprivation of liberty under Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation for an anti-war statement; Aleksey Gorinov became the first person to be really sentenced to prison under this Criminal Code Article.

The Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) initiated a criminal case against Ilya Yashin, former head of the Krasnoselsky constituency, on July 12, 2022 (Ilya Yashin was initially detained for allegedly disobeying the police). For the period of investigation, a preventive measure was chosen for him in the form of detention until September 12, 2022. Ilya Yashin, fined three times for discrediting the army (part 1 of Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses), was detained on the night of June 28 while walking in the park: according to the law enforcer’s report, the deputy “grabbed him by the uniform, insulted him dirtily, and pushed him away with his hands.” Ilya Yashin denied the accusations and assured that the police “silently walked” him down to the paddy wagon, without explaining the reasons for the detention. The court did not call the police and did not request video from surveillance cameras, believing the data in the protocol. Ultimately, the oppositionist was sentenced to 15 days imprisonment. On July 13, the next day after he was detained, Yashin was also charged with discrediting the Russian army.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, oppositionist, was detained earlier in April in the same way for 15 days (he is included in the register of individuals who are foreign agents), and upon leaving the special detention center he was detained again being accused of a criminal offense: disseminating fakes about the army (the same Article as in Yashin’s case: Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

Some deputies did not participate in the elections voluntarily. Thus, the Council of Deputies of Yakimanka accepted voluntary resignation of deputy Dmitry Maksimov, which he filed in April after the events in Bucha, Ukraine were reported. Ilya Azar, well-known journalist and municipal deputy of the Khamovniki constituency, left Russia this spring, and there are many others who did so.

There are — although not often — more traditional ways to interfere with the nomination of candidates. For example, members of the CPRF branch in the Kurganinsky district were supposed to gather on July 9, 2022 to hold a plenum dedicated to nominating a candidate for the autumn elections of the head of the Petropavlovsk rural settlement of the Krasnodar Territory, but the premises rented by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) turned out to be locked. An agreement to extend the lease of the building where the office of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation had been located for 10 years, was concluded in February 2022, but prior to the elections, the building became the property of the municipality, and the communists were asked to leave the rented premises. The doors of the building were locked at the time appointed for the plenum, and the key could not open a new lock. There was an announcement on the door saying that due to the change of ownership, access to the building was limited, and there was a schedule set to access the rented premises. The communists could not get into the premises and could not hold a plenum because of the new regime in the premises.

The problem with the nomination of “doubles” is persistent. For example, United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), the Communists of Russia, Fair Russia - For Truth, and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) nominated namesakes or candidates with similar surnames in the elections of deputies to the Omsk City Council in 19 out of 40 constituencies. Last year, the Communists of Russia, as well as in the Altai Territory, were in first place on the ballot in the elections to the regional parliament of the Omsk region (just like the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was first in the ballots in the federal elections), and thanks to this, they were able to get 11% of the votes, passing into the Legislative Assembly and having received a “parliamentary privilege” in the region. This time they were able to nominate candidates from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in 16 constituencies without collecting signatures for the “doubles”, and in three more cases, it was done by Fair Russia - For Truth. In total, there are five “doubles” engaged by “Socialist-Revolutionaries”, and one “double” engaged by the Liberal Democratic Party. In one case, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation “spoilers” United Russia (or vice versa): this is district No. 14.

In some cases, rather well-known politicians play as “spoilers” on behalf of the Communists of Russia: Anatoly Kudrin, former deputy of the City Council of the 5th convocation; Alexander Kraev, social activist and founder of the Omsk-based Houses of Hope; Vladimir Zhukov, incumbent deputy of the City Council.

There is the following situation at the constituencies level (see Table 4).

Table 4. Candidates with the same or similar surnames in single-mandate constituencies in the elections to the Omsk City Council

Constituency # Names of candidates
2 Fedin Vitaly Alexandrovich — Fair Russia - For Truth Fedin Ivan Viktorovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
3 Drankovich Denis Nikolaevich — Fair Russia - For Truth Drozdovich Bronislav Alekseevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
4 Svetetsky Alexander Sergeevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Svintitsky Stanislav Valerievich — Communists of Russia
5 Skripal Sergey Nikolaevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Skripkarev Anatoly Nikolaevich — Communists of Russia
6 Donskikh Natalya Georgievna — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Dontsova Lyudmila Gennadievna — Communists of Russia
7 Pershina Maria Aleksandrovna — Communists of Russia
Porshneva Natalia Viktorovna — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
8 Kraev Alexander Viktorovich — Communists of Russia
Kraev Alexander Gavrilovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
10 Vorobyeva Elena Vitalievna — Communists of Russia
Vorobyova Nelly Sergeevna — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
14 Gavrilenko Vladimir Nikolaevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Gavrilenko Maria Anatolyevna —United Russia
Gavrilov Leonid Vladimirovich — Fair Russia - For Truth
Gavrilov Sergey Sergeevich — Communists of Russia
15 Mintsev Alexander Petrovich — Fair Russia - For Truth
Nemtsev Evgeny Viktorovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Nemtsov Sergey Nikolaevich — Communists of Russia
17 Abduvalinov Mukhamed Gabdulovich — Communists of Russia
Abdulin Sergey Marlenovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
19 Medvedev Vladimir Sergeevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Medvedev Petr Alexandrovich — Fair Russia - For Truth
20 Kudrin Anatoly Ivanovich — Communists of Russia
Kudrinsky Vitaly Valentinovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
23 Zaveryukha Igor Valerievich — Fair Russia - For Truth
Zavorokhin Evgeny Andreevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
Zamatokhin Alexander Vasilievich — Communists of Russia
24 Kizilov Evgeny Anatolyevich — Communists of Russia
Kizim Nikolai Ivanovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
25 Zhukov Alexey — LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia)
Zhukov Vladimir Alekseevich — Communists of Russia
Zhukov Sergey Timofeevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
(the last two are incumbent deputies previously elected based on party lists)
27 Rain Rodion Vladimirovich — Communists of Russia
Rice Vadim Vladimirovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
35 Shantin Denis Viktorovich — Communists of Russia
Shantsev Vitaly Sergeevich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)
40 Sazonov Sergey Nikolayevich — Communists of Russia
Safonov Vladimir Vladimirovich — CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)

In the elections of deputies to the Kirov City Duma, “doubles” were nominated by the Party of Pensioners in three constituencies: Vladimir Boyarintsev was nominated by the Party of Pensioners against Alexander Boyarintsev, candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, in single-mandate constituency #8; Alexander Kuzmin was nominated against Aleksey Kuzmin, Fair Russia candidate, in constituency #10; Nikulin Alexander Stanislavovich was nominated against Nikulin Alexander Nikolayevich, Fair Russia candidate, in constituency #18.


Authors:

Alexander Kynev, PhD (Political Sciences), independent expert;

Arkady Lyubarev, PhD (Legal Sciences), member of the Golos Movement Council;

Stanislav Andreychuk, PhD (Historical Sciences), Co-Chairperson of the Golos Movement.


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