Staunton, August 9 – In the first of its monitoring reports concerning the September elections in the regions, the Liberal Mission Foundation says that what has happened so far shows that the weakening of the role of the systemic parties and of democratic procedures, long in train, is continuing with new force.
The 64-page report (liberal.ru/files/articles/7637/clon1Nonitoring_2020.pdfliberal.ru/reports/7637).
This takes the form of reducing the application of any proportionality in the election system, something which gave the systemic parties a reason to stay within the system, and of the increasing decision of regional leaders to run not as candidates of this or that party but rather as independent figures.
These two trends are destroying the political arrangements the Kremlin put in place in the early 2000s and leading to the further “de-party-ization and personalization of elections.” As a result, the parties are declining in importance at all levels, and personalities, already dominant at the national level, are becoming key at the regional and local ones as well.
At the same time, Kynyev says, the report finds that the powers that be are restricting the participation of those they do not directly control to run as candidates and imposing ever greater limits on the election rights and procedures, thus opening the way for more pressure on voters and falsification of results.
These official actions have been reinforced by the impact of the pandemic which has reduced the opportunities for political parties to hold mass public meetings. Indeed, Kynyev rights, the pandemic has assisted the powers that be in their promotion of what the report calls “electoral authoritarianism.”
None of these things promises to be corrected anytime soon, and all of them will add to cynicism and anger among the population about parties and elections. That may or may not lead to any explosions in September, but these actions and the pandemic set the stage for such protests in the future.