The Moscow Elections, 8 Sept 2013

Discussion in 'Russian Politics' started by AKarlin, Jul 29, 2013.

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Who would you vote for as Mayor of Moscow?

Poll closed Sep 2, 2013.
  1. Sergey Sobyanin

    66.7%
  2. Alexei Navalny

    11.1%
  3. Ivan Melnikov

    22.2%
  4. Mikhail Degtyaryov

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Nikolai Levichev

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Sergey Mitrokhin

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Other - clarify

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Well, maybe Sobyanin will actually get off his ass next time and actually campaign. Taking opponents for granted is never a good thing, as it's obvious that most of his supporters adopted his attitude and just stayed home.

    From what you guys have written, Navalny was pretty much running against a dead guy.
  2. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    An about turn from an earlier report: No second round says Sobyanin.

    "In the small hours of the morning, Sergei Sobyanin appeared amongst his supporters and said he was ready for any outcome, but that there will most likely not be a second round."
  3. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Well the hamsters can scream and shout all they like - or should that better be "squeak? - but the result has officially been given:

    Sobyanin declared winner of Moscow mayor elections

    Sobyanin has clearly been punished for sitting on his arse and by the complacency of his supporters, but I was talking to a senior official at NSD earlier today, who said to me that Moscow doesn't need a politician as a mayor but a competent bureaucrat.

    My interlocutor did not seem over enamoured with the Chosen One.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  4. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    In reply to a comment on Kremlin Stooge made by SFreader concerning Roizman's Ekaterinburg victory, I have just written the following:

    The election success of convicted criminal and vigilante Roizman will be presented in the West as victory for democracy, as is any success against the Evil One.

    Here’s what the BBC said about Roizman 6 years ago in an article entitled “No room at the Duma”:

    Yevgeny Roizman has been many things – businessman and anti-drugs campaigner, art expert and champion off-road racer.”

    Some pertinent details missing from Roizman’s CV I think!

    And here’s what Wiki says about him:

    Yevgeny Roizman is a Russian campaigner against corrupt police, illegal drug sellers and for drug rehab cetners [sic]. He operates a drug rehab center in Yekaterinburg, and has been accused by the city’s officials of imprisoning patients and using violence as part of therapy. He is a political ally of Prokhorov.

    That’s all there is on him.

    But take a look at the far bigger Russian Wiki entry on Roizman, included in which is the following:

    В 1981 году был осуждён за кражу (ст. 144 часть 2 УК РСФСР), мошенничество (147 часть 3 УК РСФСР) и незаконное ношение холодного оружия (218 часть 2 УК РСФСР). Первоначальный срок был условным, однако затем приговор был пересмотрен, Ройзман был водворён в места лишения свободы и освобождён в ноябре 1983 года. В 1984 году судимость была снята.

    [In 1981 he was convicted of theft (Article 144, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR), fraud (147, part 3 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR) and the illegal carrying of knives (218, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR). The initial sentence was a suspended one but was later revised. Roizman was put in prison and was released in November 1983. In 1984, the conviction was removed.]

    Then there’s this article from the St. Petersburg Times (sister rag to the Moscow Times): “ROIZMAN UNDETERRED DESPITE ELECTION CONTROVERSY”, in which Roizman’s life story is described as having been “tumultuous” and deputy head of the Sverdlovsk gubernatorial administration, Vadim Dubichev, is reported as having said by 'phone prior to the Ekaterinburg election: “We have come back to the same intersection that we found ourselves at a decade ago when the leader of the Uralmash gang could have become mayor.” Dubichev did not refer to Roizman by name, but the St. Petersburg Times then reported him as saying:

    People in the Urals know what I am talking about…

    adding that Dubichev was “apparently referring to reports that the Uralmash gang — the most powerful crime syndicate in Yekaterinburg — helped Roizman in his earlier anti-drug activities by beating and brutalizing drug dealers”.

    The St. Petersburg article then closes with:

    “‘Konstantin Kiselev, a political scientist and member of Roizman’s team, echoed Dubischev’s warning about criminals in power — but in his scenario, Roizman was the good guy.

    ‘There is a fight between the corrupt criminals in power, and Roizman is the personification of something new, clean and honest’,” he said
    .”

    Criminal turned “good guy” or "good criminal"?
  5. Joshua

    Joshua Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Ah yes i hope to find a beautiful Russian wife and raise a few children myself. I guess when Russians of Britain they think of the wretched West, the staunch ally of the U.S. Can't really blame them though the way some political leaders act but good luck to you all the same
  6. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I doubt there will be big protests following this election. Not only was the election definitely clean but the understandable grievance the liberal population of Moscow had following the 2011 parliamentary elections that they had been disenfranchised by the working of the electoral system simply doesn't apply this time. No doubt there will be some protests but I don't see them being very big. Besides with 630,000 votes cast for him (around 200,000 fewer than Prokhorov) Navalny simply doesn't have the numbers.

    Navalny however has no real option but to contest the result. That I am afraid is the price one pays for being a Messiah. No Messiah can accept 27% of the vote or to be more precise 27% of the 33% who voted. That would mean accepting that the majority are not receptive to the message. A conventional politician would be satisfied with yesterday's result and would try to build on it. A conventional politician however is exactly what Navalny is not. Well at least he won't be crucified.
  7. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Well the final result was that Sobyanin got 51.3% and Navalny 27.2%, so there's no first round. Navalny's total is slightly below what most of the exit polls gave him except bizarrely the exit poll by Golos, which I believe gave him 26%.

    Just a few comments:

    1. The turnout at 33% was way below expectations. Before anyone starts criticising the polling agencies, Levada gave Navalny 10% of its total respondents, VTsIOM 11% of its total respondents and Ipsos 13% of its total respondents. Navalny's final result was around 9% of the total Moscow electorate. This is actually in line with the figures the polling agencies were giving. What the result shows is that Navalny's supporters were motivated and came out to vote for him. The reason his percentage of the total vote was so much higher than anyone expected is because the figures the polling agencies were giving for the final result were based on an expected 50% turnout. It's clear that it was disproportionately Sobyanin's supporters who remained at home. Had more of them come out bringing turnout up to the expected range of 50% Navalny's final vote would have been in the region of 18-20% most of the opinion pollsters were giving him.

    2. I am afraid the reason Sobyanin's remained at home is because of Sobyanin's lack of skill as an electoral candidate. He is a functionary not a politician and in this election he barely campaigned at all. Bluntly I don't think he knows how to. Certainly he has entirely failed to create the sort of formidable political machine that Luzhkov his predecessor did. As far as I can see the only things Sobyanin actually did during the election was intervene repeatedly to keep Navalny in it. That of course automatically negated any criticisms of Navalny he might have made. Why take seriously such criticisms if the person who makes them is helping the person he criticises? On election day Putin said that cities should be run not by politicians but by apolitical technicians. That's all very well but elections are politics and politics needs politicians. If Putin thinks cities should be run by technical specialists then he should simply appoint them and not expect them to run for office or stand for election.

    3. That Navalny failed to force a run off in this situation despite the low turnout and despite Sobyanin's weakness as a candidate confirms that the liberals in Moscow inhabit a political ghetto they cannot break out of. Yavlinsky in the Presidential election of 2000 and Prokhorov in the Presidential election of 2013 both got the votes of around 12% of Moscow's registered electorate. Navalny got less than this in an election where his support was mobilised and that of his opponents wasn't. An indicator of the problem liberal candidates have is that probably because he is a liberal Navalny consistently gets the most negative responses. In the discussion programme on RT I just appeared on Dmitri Babich put Moscow's liberal electorate at 15-20%. Based on actual votes it is rather less than this, probably in a range of 12-15%. The fact that it makes more noise and is more motivated than the remaining 85-90% should not mislead us as to its electoral limitations.

    4. This means that no effective challenge to this result or colour revolution in Moscow will take place. Quite apart from the fact that this was a conspicuously clean election as almost everyone else admits, with the support of just 9% of the Moscow electorate (around 630,000 votes) Navalny simply lacks the numbers. Navalny may be able to bring out a couple of thousand supporters but the core will probably remain the 20,000 or so who form Moscow's protest community. Navalny is nonetheless obliged to challenge the result not because it is politically sensible for him to do so (it isn't) but because a failure to do so would dismay his most ardent supporters. A failure to challenge the result would be tantamount to admitting that he has the support of only 9% of Moscow's people. A conventional politician can be happy with that and build on it but for a Messiah that simply will not do.

    5. I doubt this result is anywhere near good enough to enable Navalny to force the authorities to modify the Judgment in the KirovLes case. As I said in my long post on the subject, I believe he was properly convicted after a fair trial which the authorities were extremely careful to conduct the trial by the book. I don't think they will now intervene in a way that would jeopardise all that by appearing to confirm that this was a politically motivated case after all. On the basis of this result I don't think they will feel under any real pressure to do so.

    6. I don't think the Roizman result in Yekaterinburg has any wider political significance at all. I have always opposed restoring direct elections for mayors and governors. I think it was a regressive step rushed out as a panicked and unnecessary response to the 2011 protests by Medvedev who like Sobyanin is also less a politician than a functionary. The low turnout even in Moscow (the most politicised city in the country) shows how little actual demand for such direct elections there really is. I have always felt that the combination of low turnouts typical in regional elections and a poorly developed party system risked throwing up eccentrics and mavericks that the country can ill afford whilst draining political and electoral energy out of local councils, which in a well functioning parliamentary system should work as the building blocks and training areas for political parties. I am afraid the result in Yekaterinburg is just what I feared Having said this I don't see Roizman in far away Yekaterinburg as any sort of threat or challenge to Putin even if he wants to be, which I am sure he doesn't. As for Roizman's political and economic views, I doubt he has any and to the extent he does I doubt they were the reasons anyone voted for him.

    7. Lastly, for Russia, these elections have been a good thing. They refute the claim that Putin has "lost" Moscow. On the contrary in a conspicuously clean election against the best candidate the liberal opposition has Putin's candidate won by large margin in the first round despite his all too obvious limitations. At the same time the fact that in Moscow and elsewhere there have been properly contested and conspicuously clean and fair elections ought to refute the claim that Russia is any kind of dictatorship or sham democracy.
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  8. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I just want to say something about "western style campaigning" as supposedly used by Navalny in the Moscow election campaign.

    Much of what is called "western style campaigning" looks to me simply like election campaigning, which Navalny did but which Sobyanin largely didn't. I didn't think there was much that was distinctive about it. For example both Putin and Prokhorov and even Zyuganov in last year's election campaign had posters, met with voters and engaged in discussions. The one thing that was distinctive about Navalny's campaign was his carefully staged meetings with specially selected groups of supporters. I am not sure whether this counts as "western style campaigning" but if it does it merely managed to bring out Navalny's own vote. There is no evidence that it managed to persuade anyone else outside the existing liberal electorate who was not already receptive to Navalny's message to come over to him. Alexandre Latsa has provided a wonderful map, which compares Navalny's results in Moscow with Prokhorov's results in Moscow in last year's Presidential election. What it shows is that Navalny polled best in exactly the same Moscow districts where Prokhorov did. In other words Navalny's electoral constituency is the same as Prokhorov's (which probably explains why they dislike each other so much - Rome after all cannot have two Caesars). The only difference is that Navalny actually polled around 200,000 fewer votes than Prokhorov did.

    http://alexandrelatsa.ru/2013/09/comparaisons-electorales-2/

    Far from "western style campaigning" being something others in Russia should emulate, that sort of campaigning seems to work only for those who are already converted and probably puts everyone else off. If one actually wants to win an election in Russia as opposed to coming a distant second in Moscow then on the evidence of this election "western style campaigning" is precisely what one should NOT do.

    As for Navalny's future, this is his peak. Faced by a weak opponent running a lacklustre (non) campaign in what is by a wide margin Russia's most liberal city, he was only able to get 632,000 voters or 9% of registered voters to come out and vote for him. Unless he wins his appeal (which I think very unlikely) in a few months he will be in prison. This result is certainly not enough in my opinion to force the authorities to take the extraordinary step of overturning his sentence if they ever had such an idea. On the contrary I understand that he is already being warned of further legal action if he persists in his attempt to overturn the result. Once in prison he will not be exactly forgotten but nor on the strength of this result will he become a Russian Mandela (an absurd comparison some have made). As time passes the political cavalcade will move on, the liberals will turn to someone else and Navalny will fade away before he eventually emigrates to the US as I am sure he will one day do.

    Lastly, I think it's worth pointing out that everywhere else apart from Yekaterinburg United Russia had a clean sweep, winning the majority of seats in regional councils. Even in Yekaterinburg Roizman only won by a whisker and he only won because of special factors that worked in his favour. There is one other place where a Fair Russia candidate was elected Governor but the man in question is apparently the incumbent Governor and therefore despite his party affiliation is a supporter of the government. More to the point, all the elections were undeniably clean with even the Communists (who once again came second overall) apparently this time admitting as much. These elections were another step in consolidating Russia's democracy and political system and serve as further confirmation of the country's stability and of Putin's extraordinary political dominance of the country.
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  9. Sergey

    Sergey Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    As I wrote here several weeks ago, these elections are so new that pollsters would be hard pressed to produce a reliable voting model, even assuming correctly estimating Moscowites' opinion. A total miss on voting participation does confirm this prediction.

    Looking forward, polls might be relatively less reliable in similar situations - a charismatic opposition candidate in a place with small unhappy minority, and the majority that's pretty much satisfied with their lives - for a year or two. After that, the Big Three will learn the new tricks and get precise again.
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  10. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Yet I read in the British press that Navalny gave Putin "a bloody nose" yesterday!



    Much to my amazement after having picked up a freebie Moscow Times in a bank headquarters this afternoon, I saw that the rag is still beating the drum that Sobyanin only got 50% and that the chances of a second round are still in the offing.

    See: Sobyanin Result Close to 50% in Mayoral Vote, Exit Polls Say

    As I write now at 22:00, that front page story is still there on the online version of that “newspaper” - almost 12 hours after the final result of the election was announced!

    Even Zigfield threw a tantrum over this article in the readers’ comments.

    She dislikes the Chosen One especially as he banned her from commenting on his blog.

    As Alexander Mercouris has pointed out, despite voter apathy and not a lackluster campaign performance by Sobyanin but no performance whatsoever by him, Navalny could only get those to vote for him who had already decided to do so.

    This is what, I am sure, worked in Lesbolibertarianka Kichanova’s favour in the South Tushino city precinct, where the Libertarians Twittered all their do-what-thou-wilt-shall-be-the-whole-of-the-law, starry-eyed kid-voter, bourgeois acolytes and did door-to-door “Western style” canvassing in order to garner votes. The total apathy of the majority in that precinct did the rest.
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  11. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Indeed you have been proved completely right on this.

    I suspect by the way that the polling agencies were aware of the problems in their modelling, which is why they were so careful to report the percentage of their total respondents who said they would vote for a particular candidate.
  12. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    That headline of course appeared in the Guardian (where else). It was briefly their lead on their internet edition but it didn't stay up there for very long. Actually this election and yesterday's result has not been widely reported in the British media at all. I think the penny dropped some time ago that a revolution in Russia is simply not going to happen and they began to notice that their readers were starting to get bored and question the story.
  13. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    What Sobyanin changed in Moscow during his first two and a half years in office.

    Sobyanin's first year in office.

    I wonder what the Chosen One would have done if he had won the mayoral election?

    Gay Parade ban lifted?

    Out of the mayor's remit now, I think, as they have been banned by the State Duma.

    A crackdown on immigration ("crackdown" - favourite word of Putin critics. :)) so as to keep his nationalist pals contented.

    Further "Magnitsy List" names sent to the USA?

    Any more suggestions?
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  14. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    "Far from "western style campaigning" being something others in Russia should emulate, that sort of campaigning seems to work only for those who are already converted and probably puts everyone else off. If one actually wants to win an election in Russia as opposed to coming a distant second in Moscow then on the evidence of this election "western style campaigning" is precisely what one should NOT do."

    That's as may be; but I fear that with all the hype that is sure to result from this election (from the laudatory western media) and the startlingly high totals Navalny was able to bring out compared with Boris Nemtsov's dismal showing will embolden the quacking western-backed opposition.

    And I should stress it is only the latter quality about the opposition that bothers me - that it owes its loyalty and much of its existence to the flow of support from foreign sugar-daddies who are interested in Russia's destabilization and ruin, while "democracy" and "freedom" are just punchlines they use to pretend they are earnest in their fervent desire to see Russia prosper. Western foreign policy has for decades been dedicated to early removal of potential rivals and limiting of their global voice rather than making them over New-Deal style.

    I realize this election was a great deal different than a Duma or presidential election which would have involved the whole federation, in which case Navalny might well have done no better than Nemtsov was able to do, although I certainly underestimated the weight of the intelligentsia in Moscow. But I fear the message will be that it was Navalny's "western-style campaign" (handing out flyers by volunteers, small town-hall-style meetings with the voters) which allowed him to pull in such a large total - really, it was quite respectable - and that consequently western-style political stumping holds the promise of hope for all opposition candidates. The initiatives cited - political flyers and town halls - are harmless themselves and probably even a welcome change for Russia. However, I suspect I would get little disagreement if I suggested there is little else about modern political campaigns in western democracies to recommend them, and that in the case of both the USA and UK this has resulted in bitterly polarized and partisan electorates who despise each other's values, morals and philosophy. It is practically impossible to unite such a country on any issue, and I certainly would not wish it on Russia.

    If analysis reveals that Navalny's big bonus was a low turnout, for example, I imagine the lesson learned by the opposition will be that it pays to suppress voter turnout to the maximum extent possible, while redoubling the effort to drag their own voters to the polls. Having a better plan for the city or the country, as the case may be, will be a distant second in importance to seizing power, because everybody knows you can't do shit unless you get elected. I visualize Russia under such a spell growing more corrupt rather than less.
  15. gbordakov

    gbordakov Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Here http://www.russian.rfi.fr/rossiya/2...-ugovorili-moskvichei-ne-yavlyatsya-na-vybory Limonov claims that the boycott party is the real winner of the elections. He states that the only option for those who want to have free elections is to boycott "not free" elections. And in the recent Moscow elections there were really 2 candidates from "United Russia": Sobyanin and Navalny (given the fact that from Navalny's 110 municipal deputies signatures necessary for candidate registration 55 were UR deputies). Of course Western media will play this "not free" part but I doubt that Navalny as UR candidate will surface in any language other than Russian. Of course Navalny was "RPR-Parnas" candidate, but I don't really see difference between them, SPS and UR other than pro-Western establishment stance and connections. I still remember how they all supported Putin in 2000.
    Were I physically in Moscow (where I legally registered) I would have boycotted these elections myself.
  16. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    That will be all very well, providing the voters do not get the idea that they should vote for whoever sucks up to them the most, while the candidates get the idea that the voters will pull the lever for whoever promises them the most unattainable shiny things. Then Russia will end up not only with western-style campaigning, but with western-style democracy.
  17. gbordakov

    gbordakov Office Registrar (13th class)

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    #1 of Sobyanin's changes is "new team". That would be sure thing with Navalny. Other than that some "...gate" perhaps. More Western style propaganda and lobbying and movement from bureaucrats dominated establishment of Russian type to bureaucrats/MSM/lobby hydra of US.
  18. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I understand that Navalny's post election rally has ended without incident and with everyone going home peacefully. There's no sign of any attempt at a colour revolution. I think Navalny is realistic enough to understand that there is no chance of one even if he has to go through the motions of demanding a recount and a second round. I understand by the way that the Election Commission is refusing to have discussions with him. I can't believe he seriously thinks either is going to happen. The only chance of that would be if Sobyanin stupidly agreed to it. Sobyanin has made some quixotic gestures in Navalny's favour but I think that would be going too far.

    The official turnout for the rally is put at 9,000. It is a sign of how far Russia has progressed that a rally which before 2011 would have been considered enormous - and enormously news worthy - has gone practically unnoticed. Before 2011 a post election rally attracting 9,000 people to hear an opposition politician in Moscow would have topped the world news.
  19. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Independence for the Caucasus.
  20. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    However the final tally shakes out - and I doubt it will move very much, it is clear Anatoly's prediction for Navalny's take was by far the more accurate and that he is the undisputed winner. Now I must wash his car while clad only in skimpy undergarments. I will have to throw myself on his mercy and ask that the sentence be suspended until I next visit the Bay area, so that I do not have to make a special trip just for that purpose. Anatoly? Oh, and congratulations on a truly prescient prediction. I was only kidding when I called you "that pretentious Bay area psychic".

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