Russia’s political/pandemic update: United Russia wins constitutional majority ahead of 2024 presidential election

RUSSIA ECONOMICS - Report 22 Sep 2021 by Evgeny Gavrilenkov and Alexander Kudrin

As time goes by, Russia is still among the least vaccinated countries in the world, and the vaccination process in the country remained slow in August and September – only 32.3% of Russians had gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and 28.2% were fully vaccinated as of September 22. The daily incidence rate and the death toll appeared to be mostly unchanged, although the latter decreased from peak levels seen a couple of weeks ago. So far, no major restrictions were introduced in the Russian regions, and business went on as usual, which was unsurprising ahead of the Duma elections held September 17 to 19. Voters were also allowed to vote online after registering on a special website. It is yet to be seen whether the elections had an impact on the epidemiological situation in the country.

The Duma election was probably the most important event for the country this year as it indicated not only the current preferences of the electorate but hinted at what voters might expect in 2024, the year of the presidential election. The objective of retaining the constitutional majority of the ruling United Russia party was achieved, and this was possible also because the popularity of other parties, such as the Liberal Democratic Party or Just Russia party (which merged with a few other smaller ones) declined.

Having supported United Russia, people voted for continuity of the current trends and for the prevention of sharp swings such as the one seen in 1992, as no fresh and attractive new ideas were offered by United Russia’s competitors. Opinion polls point to the fact that a growing number of Russians prefer the Soviet type of political and economic system, and at the same time they would like to live in a wealthy country – a dream that is difficult to fulfill. It looks as though the society will continue its search for the road "back to a wealthier Soviet future".

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