Staunton, May 26 – Most parties who are participating in the upcoming Duma and regional legislative assembly elections are now including environmentalists in their list of candidates because such issues not only are increasingly important to the population and capable of generating protest but because such issues are overwhelmingly local, Aleksey Shaburov says.
That means that the parties can speak about something of concern to the voters but not risk running afoul of the Kremlin by talking about something that generate an all-Russia split, something the powers that be would respond to forcefully, the editor of the Yekaterinburg Politsovet portal says (politsovet.ru/70400-pobolshe-zelenogo-rossiyskim-partiyam-trebuyutsya-ekologi.html).
While there are countrywide and even larger environmental issues, most of the problems in this area that people care about in Russia are local or regional; and so candidates can speak about such things, attract attention and perhaps votes but not get themselves or their parties in trouble, Shaburov explains.
“The Russian authorities understand very well the political significance of the environmental theme,” he says. It is thus “no accident” that one of the new parties the regime has created is the Green Alternative. That, however, has forced all the other parties, including United Russia, to devote more attention to this issue lest they lose voters to the Greens.
One way for the ruling party and others to avoid having all the environmentally concerned voters back a single party, something the regime certainly doesn’t want, is for each to include an ecologist in its list of candidates and to talk about the environment on a more or less constant basis.
This trend is likely to continue, and “if not in these elections, then in the next ones, an environmentalist candidate will be included in each party list. But the party that will win as always will be the party that understands the value of such a tactic earliest, the Yekaterinburg commentator says.