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Putin versus the Turnout? Mapping the Kremlin’s 2018 Presidential Election Support

In: Russian Politics
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The 2018 Russian presidential election was effectively a contest not between Vladimir Putin and the other seven candidates on the ballot paper, but between Putin and the level of election turnout. Anything less than a large majority based on a respectable level of turnout would have undermined Putin’s legitimacy to serve for a further six-year term. In the event, Putin achieved his goal. In this paper we examine the background to the election and the conduct of the campaign, and analyse the result. Putin’s success can be traced to, first, long-standing patterns of differential turnout across the regions and, second, administrative initiatives by the election authorities which created a renewed confidence in the integrity of the election process. While there is evidence that those wishing to protest against Putin spoiled their votes, the impact of this was minor.

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