Staunton, August 3 – Aleksandr Kynyev, a specialist on political life in Russia’s regions, has released a 1216-page study on elections to the parliaments of the regions of the Russian Federation over the last seven years (Elections of Regional Parliaments in Russia, 2014-2020 (in Russian; Moscow: Liberal Mission, 2021).
Happily, it is organized region by region and is available online, making it a critical resource not only for the upcoming regional elections in September but also for the study of regions in general given the background it provides on each of the more than 80 federal subjects of the country (liberal.ru/library/vybory-regionalnyh-parlamentov-v-rossii-2014-2020).
Kynyev analyzes the 110 elections to the regional parliaments since 2014 -- 85 of the regions, including Russian occupied Crimea and Sevastopol, have had one; and 25 have had two – and draws some general conclusions about the way in which the evolution of Moscow’s policy has changed them over the last decade.
He has presented his general conclusion in articles published before, but the details he provides here not only strengthen his arguments about Moscow’s reduction in the importance of political parties in the regions and its growing control over those which remain are important more generally.
They show that for all the homogenization of Russian political life that the Kremlin has promoted, important differences remain reflecting the history, demography, and personalities of leading figures in the regions remain and are key elements of Russian politics in the regions even if they have been overshadowed by countrywide trends.