Staunton, September 14 – By promoting the idea of “smart voting,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, Aleksey Navalny achieved a victory for himself in his effort to become the unchallenged leader of the Russian opposition even if the idea did not on its own result in victories for the candidates on his recommended list.
That conclusion, the London-based Russian analyst says, reflects the fact that Navalny is fighting “a war on two fronts,” one involving the opposition and the second involving the current regime. “Smart voting” gave him a real victory on the first because it structured the way the election has been discussed (echo.msk.ru/programs/year2019/2500177-echo/).
But whether it achieved a victory against the regime is less clear for two reasons. On the one hand, there is not yet sufficient sociological data on the voters to say that “smart voting” played as prominent role in the outcome of the September 8 voting as some have suggested. And on the other, the fate of the Putin regime may or may not hinge on that fact alone.