Staunton, July 2 – The Nenets Autonomous District was the only federal subject whose voters cast a majority against Vladimir Putin’s constitutional amendments, with more than 55 percent voting no yesterday. They did so, officials and experts say, as a protest against Moscow’s plans to amalgamate their territory with Arkhangelsk Oblast (svpressa.ru/politic/article/269849/).
Perhaps significantly, the share of Nenets voters in the district’s capital Naryan-Mar who voted against the amendments was higher than for the federal subject as a whole, a sign that the political class there is possibly more opposed to amalgamation than the population at large (vybory.izbirkom.ru/region/region/izbirkom?action=show&root=1000077&tvd=100100163598086&vrn=100100163596966®ion=0&global=true&sub_region=0&prver=0&pronetvd=null&vibid=100100163598086&type=465
This opposition in Nenets may slow even if it doesn’t stop the new round of regional amalgamations in which numerically smaller non-Russian republics and districts are folded into larger and predominantly ethnic Russian oblasts and krays. At the very least, it signals that Moscow will face more opposition if it goes forward.
Perhaps significantly, even Putin’s press spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, acknowledged that opposition to amalgamation likely was the factor behind what he called the protest vote there (vedomosti.ru/politics/news/2020/07/02/833825-kreml-nazval-odnu-iz-prichin-protestnogo-golosovaniya