How the Electoral Policy of the Russian State Predetermined the Results of the 2016 State Duma Elections

In: Russian Politics
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  • 1 Higher School of Economics

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The article analyses how the electoral policy of the Russian state predetermined the results of the 2016 State Duma elections. The factors leading to this predictability are described in detail. These were a combination of the introduction of a mixed electoral system, with the party of power winning in more than 90% of majoritarian districts in regional elections; gerrymandering during the establishment of electoral districts; changes to the system by which voters outside the borders of the Russian Federation were allocated to electoral districts; the change of election date (moving it to September) and the consequent reduced turnout in the cities more prone to protest votes; “rigged campaigns” and the systemic opposition’s unreadiness for serious disputation; new bans and restrictions on political competition, resulting parties and candidates capable of genuinely opposing the regime being denied access to the elections; a push among protest voters to boycott the election, de facto supported by the regime’s campaign managers; and weak campaigns by the democratic parties.