Putin maintains the super-majority and Navalny deflates: fraud is not enough to explain the vote

In an eternal return of the same, the Russian September delivers the parliamentary majority wanted by Putin on time every five years. Once again, all the forecasts of attrition, fatigue and internal cracks in the system were denied in the face of the result of the national laws which confirmed the qualified majority of two thirds for the president's party, United Russia (RU): 315 seats out of 450, the half of which are assigned on a proportional basis (HR has gone from 54 percent of approval in 2016 to the current 50%) and half in single-shift single-member boarding schools. It is here that the Putinians got their fill, winning 199 representatives out of a total of 225, and it is here that the useful vote strategy promoted by Navalny to counter the ruling party crashed – it is definitively supposed.

The appeal to vote anyone who could contest the seat to an official candidate not only did not shift the electoral balance but ultimately served exclusively to strengthen the Communist Party of Zjuganov (PCR) which, due to a drag effect on the proportional share, has increased its consents from 13 to 19 percent. This is a purely symbolic result, given that the PCR will not be able to condition the governability of the country, but it is clear that for the anti-Putin activist par excellence it cannot be considered a great success to have pulled the sprint to the heirs. crumpled of the Soviet totalitarian regime.

The basic problem of the Navalny method, however, is rooted in its substantial impracticability in an armored institutional system like the Russian one, in which even formal opposition is actually integrated into the mechanism that allows RU to perpetuate itself in power. If the Communist Party , Zhirinovsky nationalists, Just Russia and now also the newly elected New People are nothing more than organic minorities, it is useless to divert votes to their representatives which, in any case, end up being controlled or at least neutralized in parliament. from Putin's party.

The schizophrenia to which this disturbing action leads in a context like the Russian one is also demonstrated by the comments of most of the Western press, often incongruous in their premises and conclusions: it cannot be said at the same time that the elections are rigged and that Navalny managed to knock out Putin from his cell, just as one cannot continually insist on the absence of a real opposition to RU and then affirm that the electoral success of the Communists is a great result of the imprisoned dissident. Wishful thinking . The indisputable fact is that Navalny is politically offside and that the thrust of the useful vote has run out: if he wants to survive the oblivion imposed on him by the repression he will have to invent something else or hope that circumstances change in his favor. For now the lord of all the Russias remains Vladimir Putin, by hook or by crook.

Navalny's supporters say that United Russia's victories in single-member constituencies stem from electoral fraud, those of the president that the numbers confirm his great popularity in the country. The truth, in this case, lies somewhere in between. It is indubitable that those Russian elections are heavily conditioned not only by official propaganda and the exclusion from the lists of the most dangerous opponents but also by manipulations in the counting phase. The unexplained delay in communicating the results of the online vote in the Moscow districts was indicated by many observers as proof of the construction of the result pleasing to power, but during the three electoral days numerous reports of fraud emerged also in the manual scrutiny and irregularities of various kinds, while for the first time no international organization was allowed to certify the regularity of the process. Although it is difficult to assess the concrete impact of these situations, it is reasonable to assume that the Putin system has deployed all its forces to once again guarantee RU a qualified majority of two thirds of the Duma , a quota necessary for constitutional changes.

Having said this, however, it must be emphasized that, while in liberal democracies the vote is an instrument of alternation, the thirty years post-Soviet and above all the twenty years of Putin have shown that in Russia the elections are intended more as a confirmatory referendum, a ratification of the action. of established power, which as a competition between opposing factions. Hence the importance assumed, more than elsewhere, by the percentage of abstentions, which stands at 50 percent of the active electorate. It is in this space of non-participation that indifference or protest towards the system is expressed. Just think of the case of Khabarovsk, a city in the Russian Far East, the scene in recent months of intense demonstrations against the replacement of the governor of the Furgal region with an official wanted by Putin. Degtyarev, this is the name of the chosen one, was reconfirmed by the popular vote, with 57 percent of the vote. Brogli aside, this apparent inconsistency actually indicates that in Russia those who really oppose the system generally do not go to vote, while those who go to vote intend to do so for the system.

Therefore, those who denounce the manipulation of consent are right, but also those who recall that the support expressed at each election for the ruling party (and its satellites) is largely genuine. This is how Putin has armored his power, using the mechanisms of electoral democracy in his favor and putting his opponents in front of a lose-lose situation: if they do not participate – not even with a useful vote – in a competition that is not such, they disappear. from the horizon, if they participate, they effectively legitimize a result that they consider fraudulent but which, on a formal level, is difficult to attack.

Having achieved the objective of a qualified majority, United Russia cannot, however, exempt itself from some consideration on its role and its effective appeal among the population. In the first place, considering the abstention, the real percentage of approval is around 25 percent, given that it is quite consistent with the 30 percent approval that the polls assigned it but which leaves a wide range of unenthusiastic, apathetic or opposed without political sponsors. The future of Russian democracy is played out on ground not yet occupied (nor for the moment employable) by alternative options (personally I do not consider Navalny one of these, not even as a free one).

Then there is the unexpected victory of the Communist Party over RU in the immense region of Yakutia, deep north-east of the country: it is the first time that the president's party has lost in such an important portion of territory, a defeat that adds to the good results obtained by Communist candidates in many eastern provinces. One of the questions that observers ask themselves is to what extent the electoral success will fuel the ambitions of Zjuganov, transforming the heirs of the CPSU into a real opposition: to begin the inevitable Gennady has promised battle over the seats in Moscow, according to him ( and to say a little of all) attributed to RU only thanks to the manipulation of electronic voting. If the climate overheats in the next few days it will be precisely on the results of the capital.

But the battle will mainly be internal to the leading party, whose future – despite the electoral victory – does not seem so obvious, at least not in its current form. As political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya noted in a recent article , there are at least two currents of thought regarding its evolution: on the one hand the conservatives (Turchak, Shoigu), the security services and Putin himself who continue to see in the UK a pillar for system consolidation; on the other, the more reformist wing which, even without discussing the monopoly project of Putinism, would like to open the doors to a new political reality, more suited to the times and able to manage the post-Putin transition. Sunday's result would seem to confirm the prevalence of the continuist line but, on closer inspection, the very absence of a parliamentary opposition worthy of the name could in the long run cause a loss of relevance of RU in the balance of power. What is certain is that Russia's future will be written neither in the State Duma nor in the Pokrov penal colony, but between Bolshaya Lubyanka and the Kremlin .

The post Putin retains the super-majority and Navalny deflates: fraud is not enough to explain the vote appeared first on Atlantico Quotidiano .

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/putin-mantiene-la-super-maggioranza-e-navalny-si-sgonfia-non-bastano-i-brogli-a-spiegare-il-voto/ on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 03:56:00 +0000.