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Moscow’s election results The opposition wins nearly half the City Duma seats, and United Russia’s local leader loses his seat

Источник: Meduza
Andrey Vasiliev / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

Members of Russia’s “systemic opposition” (registered parties and candidates that ostensibly oppose the ruling party, United Russia) won 20 of the Moscow City Duma’s 45 seats. In Moscow's September 8 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won in 13 precincts, the liberal opposition party “Yabloko” won in four, and “Just Russia” won in three.

The authorities’ winning candidates were nine active members of United Russia who ran for Moscow City Duma seats as independents, as well as three incumbents from the pro-government “My Moscow” association. Additionally, the capital’s parliament will welcome another 13 independent winners whom Meduza and BBC Russian Service have identified as candidates promoted by the Moscow Mayor’s Office. According to Andrey Turchak (the party’s General Council secretary), United Russia’s faction in the City Duma will be made up of independent candidates and include 24-25 deputies.

Twenty candidates endorsed by Alexey Navalny’s “Smart Vote” system won their elections. The anti-corruption activist called the results a “fantastic” success for his initiative to rally voters behind United Russia’s most credible rivals. After midnight on September 9, Navalny tweeted that the ruling political party lost in 24 of 45 precincts (he accuses the authorities of “stealing” four races through election fraud).

In some races, candidates with the support of the Mayor's Office won by very narrow margins. In the city's 36th precinct, for example, Olga Sharapova beat Communist Party candidate Sergey Kurgansky by just 26 (twenty-six!) votes.

The head of United Russia in Moscow lost his re-election bid. For the first time since 2001, Andrey Metelsky won’t be part of the capital’s parliament, having lost to Communist challenger Sergey Savostyanov. Before the election, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation released two major investigative reports about Metelsky’s business and his family’s real estate. Before Metelsky’s defeat was confirmed, Andrey Turchak told journalists that United Russia had “whacked everyone in these elections.” On the morning of September 9, Turchak admitted that Metelsky’s loss “stings,” but the Moscow politician will maintain his place in the party.

Moscow Higher School of Economics Vice Rector Valeria Kasamara (whom oppositionists labeled a pro-government candidate) lost her race, too. Voters went with “Just Russia” candidate Magomet Yandiev, whose election Kasamara attributed to the “clearly consolidated” support of the precinct’s Muslim community. Oppositionist Ilya Yashin, who tried to run in the same precinct but was not registered by city officials, claimed Kasamara’s defeat as his own victory.

Moscow’s new Internet voting system malfunctioned. The experimental electronic voting system was available in three precincts, where an outage made it impossible for some voters to cast ballots online. Turnout among the individuals registered for this system was 90.8 percent. In all three races where Internet voting was available, the government’s candidates prevailed. Members of Russia’s unregistered Libertarian Party say the Internet voting glitch cost independent candidate Roman Yuneman his election. (Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation helped Yuneman collect the signatures needed to register his candidacy, but the “Smart Vote” system didn’t endorse him.) Yuneman needed another 84 votes to win his race.

Election monitors recorded evidence of vote rigging. For example, some voters were included in exit polling without their consent. Ballot stuffing was observed at five vote-scanners, and there were seven cases of repeat-voting, but journalist Alexey Venediktov, who led Moscow’s Citizen Election Board, says there are no grounds to suspect a recurrence of carousel voting (where busloads of voters are driven around to cast multiple ballots). When local election committees were counting votes, however, some waited unusually long to share their results with the “Elections” state automated system, and some election monitors were expelled from polling stations. Moscow Election Commissioner Valentin Gorbunov nevertheless declared that there were “no violations whatsoever.”

Voter turnout reached 21.77 percent, which is comparable to the last elections in 2014, when 21.04 percent of Moscow’s voters bothered to cast a ballot.

Text by Alexander Baklanov

Translation by Kevin Rothrock