Stability Reaffirmed

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 04 Oct 2013 by Alexey Dolinskiy

Sergei Sobyanin won the Moscow Mayor’s election but with a small voter turnout, and voter support for himself only marginally higher than 50%. That may cause his position in the elite hierarchy to become less prominent. His main opponent, Alexey Navalny, won more than a quarter of the vote, despite having no access to major media. While that result may be the limit of Navalny’s electoral attractiveness at this stage, he proved he is able to consolidate the protest vote, which used to be a major source of the Communists’ electoral support.

Municipal elections may be the only level of government in which the opposition has a significant chance to compete with the ruling elite on equal or almost equal terms. This was clearly demonstrated in the regional elections that took place almost nationwide in September, in which no political force managed to endanger Kremlin-supported incumbents in governors’ positions or local legislatures.

The mastermind of Russia’s political system, Vladislav Surkov, returned to the Kremlin as a presidential aide responsible for relations with South Ossetiya and Abkhazia. This is an indication of the Kremlin’s decision to become more active in that domain.

Russians believe they spend too much time online, as 48% of daily Internet users say they use it too often. Thirty-four percent of internet users believe they spend too much time in online social networks, and 23% believe they spend too much time on emails.

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