Deputies from Single-Member Districts Represent ‘Hidden Threat’ to Regime, Titkov Says
September 20 – The victory of United Russia in Sunday’s Duma elections has
attracted the most attention, but many of its deputies elected in single-member
districts may prove more loyal to their regions and regional heads than to the
party. If that happens, Aleksey Titkov says, they will constitute “a hidden
threat” to the Putin system.
the Polit.ru portal today, the Moscow commentator argues that even though
deputies from single-member districts are United Russia members, “in practice
they are connected not so much with the leadership of the party as will the
leadership or the electors of their own region” (polit.ru/article/2016/09/20/titkov_comm/).
that means, he continues, that the Kremlin is going to have to come up with new
tactics and strategies for working with these people, who after all constitute
half of the Duma’s members “and it is still difficult to say” what this
strategy will look like or whether any such strategy will work.
says that these problems “are more potential” that immediate but can certainly
surface in the event of a political or economic crisis. Indeed, in the absence
of such a crisis, these deputies are more likely than not to follow the party
line.That is all the more likely given
that Russia is about to enter a presidential election, and the deputies will
want to show loyalty.
Russian commentator, Olga Kortunova, has gone further and suggested that the
elections as a whole were marked by a revolt of regional elites, one very “open
and bold.” Regional leaders ignored the Kremlin’s guidelines to promote their own
interests and their own candidates (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=57DF99C81DC25).
leaders didn’t press for the election of opposition candidates but rather
people from United Russia, but by using various means to win votes for their
United Russia candidates, the governors showed that Sunday was “hardly a
victory of the Kremlin” and that the outcomes “showed the Kremlin” who is
really running things beyond the ring road.