Vladimir Milov
Vladimir Milov
Expert of Free Russia Foundation,
Russian opposition politician,
publicist, economist and energy expert
Is the leader of the United Russia Party afraid of being elected in Russia?

We are witnessing a juicy sequel of the story with Untied Russia altering a voting district to get the number of votes that would otherwise be insufficient to win a victory among only Russian voters. This is being done by assigning the voters from Transnistria to single-mandate electoral districts in Russia.

I’ve already written about the voting in the Irkutsk single-member electoral district #93 where 42,000 voters from Bender were assigned to, given that Bender is situated about 4,000 miles from Irkutsk, and 42,000 people amount to half of all registered Bender residents.  However, it’s not the only interesting thing here. If one takes a look at the list of the electoral districts for Russian elections published on the website of the Transnistrian Central Electoral Commission on September 18th, it can be clearly seen that the voters of four more Transnistrian cities, namely, Dubossary, Rybnica, Grigoriopol, and Slobozia, will take part in the elections in the Smolensk single-mandate electoral district #175. The total number of the Transnistrian voters there will be 41,000.

But why were the residents of Transnistria assigned to Smolensk?

The reason is very simple. At the 2011 elections to the State Duma the United Russia Party won only 36% of the vote on average in the Smolensk region. In the Zadneprovsky district of Smolensk, the main district of the city and part of the electoral district #175, it was able to win only 28%. And at that time, the rating of the party was much higher than now and is falling down drastically as we get to the threshold of the elections.  In other words, if the Transnistrian voters are not assigned to the 175th Smolensk electoral district, United Russia won’t have a chance to win there.

The rest of this situation is that our old acquaintance, Sergei Neverov, one of the leaders of the United Russia Party, runs for a seat in Duma in that particular 175th electoral district.

As I’ve already described in detail regarding the situation of the Irkutsk single-mandate electoral district #93 where 42,000 voters from Transnistrian Bender were assigned:

  • 41,000 votes are a very large number for the electoral district of 412,000 voters. And they will for sure turn the tide of the elections.
  • It’s extremely difficult for the members of the opposition to come to Transnistria, to canvass there and to monitor the elections, as this republic lives in a semi-military regime, as anyone who’s visited it knows what I’m speaking about).
  • Ultimately, in this situation of complete lack of transparency the members of United Russia will be able to create the results of the voting in Transnistria the way they like, and no one will be able to prevent them from doing so; one can expect 100% of votes for United Russia with the turnout for the elections being close to 100%.
  • Even in case somebody really votes there, it’s clear that it will not be voting of real Russian citizens concerned with the real problems of our country, but voting of the residents of some other country driven by some other motives.

And the central core of the situation with Transnistria and the 175th electoral district, as well as in the case with Bender, is that it’s absolutely incomprehensible where those 41,000 Russian citizens come from. The cumulative resident population of the four cities that will vote in the 175th electoral district is less than 100,000 (25,000 in Dubossary, 50,000 in Rybnica, less than 10,000 in Grigoriopol, and 15,000 in Slobozia). If one takes a look at the ethnic make-up of these cities according to the latest censuses, it can be seen that around 2/3 of them are Moldavians and Ukrainians, and only 1/3 are Russians. So, does that mean that all the residents of this territory are the holders of Russian passports?  It’s clearly not the case, so we can speak about some ghost voters, and their voices will be given to Neverov.

So, it looks like the immediate leader of the United Russia Party is afraid of losing the elections in Russia itself, and he relies on the voters from another country to secure his seat in the State Duma. As Neverov gets it right, he cannot be elected in Russia.

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