The Results are in: Putin has Triumphed Again

President Putin. Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office

Alexei Navalny’s miraculous recovery earlier this year sparked some hope for the upcoming Russian elections. Unfortunately, Russian democracy did not see the same rejuvenation. For Russians, though there are constant pushes to go to the polls and increase voter turnout, one vote really doesn’t matter. There is no doubt that the election’s results are rigged. 

Russia had regional elections for 20 governors and 11 regional parliaments, similar to the position of United States senator. There are three major Russian political parties: United Russia, Putin’s party; A Just Russia, the left-wing party; and Russia of the Future, Alexei Navalny’s party. Out of the 20 gubernatorial races, only five were claimed by parties other than United Russia. Of those five seats, the results were split between various parties. No party besides United Russia claimed more than one seat. What’s worse, those governors’ margin of success was significantly smaller than that of the United Russia victors. According to Meduza, a Russian newspaper whose website banner proudly states “The Real Russia, Today!” above the articles, the average independent party leader won by only about 15%. However, the United Russian governors won by about 35%. The only slight bit of hope present in this is that all the incumbents won in every race, meaning no party made any gains or lost any seats. However, the margin of victory may have decreased for independent parties.

The United Russia party does more than claim a majority of seats. It also claims victory immediately after polls are shut and declares that all results are final, from The Conversation. The Kremlin demolishes the competition by painting Putin as a saint and changing election laws. They further their leads through outright cheating, using policies such as “ demanding that state workers in factories, hospitals and schools turn out to vote. It’s common to insist that employees bring other voters with them or face losing their jobs. These officials also put paid loyalists on buses to vote at several polling stations in a single day.”
These blatant violations prove that there is little hope to be had for Russian democracy, at least until the next elections come around. There may be a chance for Russia of the Future to make gains once Navalny is fully healed and involved again, but until then, it seems like Russia is firmly in the grip of Putin’s iron fist.

President Putin. Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office

A Moscow billboard advertising the election. Credit: oscepa

Works Cited

“Everybody’s a Winner! Russia’s New Three-Day Voting Scheme Delivers Huge Victory Margins for Incumbent Governors, While Navalny’s Coalition Succeeds in Two Municipal Races.” Meduza, 

Regina Smyth Professor of Political Science, and Sarah Oates Professor and Senior Scholar. “Russia’s Rigged Elections Look Nothing like the US Election – They Have Immediate, Unquestioned Results There.” The Conversation, 20 Nov. 2020,

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