Preliminary results, a preliminary forecast United Russia wins another majority, the Duma gets (pro-Kremlin) New People, and falsification déjà vu
Attention: These observations are based on preliminary results. A lot could still change.
Update: With 30.03 percent of voting stations reporting, the party-list preliminary results are now as follows: United Russia (45.09 percent), KPRF (21.88 percent), LDPR (8.37 percent), Just Russia – For Truth (7.38 percent), and New People (6.35 percent). Also, with 30.1 percent of polling stations reporting results, United Russia is ahead in 189 of the 225 single-mandate races, puting the party’s win rate in these contests at 84 percent.
It seems that United Russia will grab about 40 percent of all party-list votes. With 12 percent of all votes processed, the Central Election Commission reported that the party was winning more than 40 percent of votes with turnout just above 40 percent. Exit polling indicates that United Russia will win more than 45 percent of all proportional-representation votes. Both this vote tally and the election’s turnout are lower than in Russia’s last parliamentary elections, five years ago, when United Russia grabbed more than 54 percent of party-list voting. These lower early results are nevertheless closer to United Russia’s current ratings, according to recent sociological surveys, which put the party’s popularity at about 30 percent. After beginning to count single-mandate votes, the Central Election Commission confirmed that United Russia will win a majority of the State Duma’s 450 seats.
Russia’s Communist Party (KPRF) is in second place. The Central Election Commission’s early count shows KPRF with 25.2 percent of party-list votes — almost 12 percent more than the Communists won in 2016. “Smart Vote,” Alexey Navalny’s strategic voting initiative to weaken United Russia’s candidates, predominantly endorsed KPRF candidates.
The right-wing Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) is winning more than 9 percent, and the liberal opposition Yabloko party has failed, yet again, to win seats in party-list voting. According to the preliminary data, LDPR is winning 9.61 percent of votes (down from 13 percent in 2016), and Just Russia is winning 6.68 percent (marginally up from 6.22 percent). Yabloko, meanwhile, could end up winning less than 1 percent.
It looks like a new political party will win seats in the State Duma. The lower house of Russia’s Parliament might be welcoming deputies from the New People party, a pro-Kremlin group founded by entrepreneur Alexey Nechaev to appeal to younger voters. Nechaev and former Yakutsk Mayor Sardana Avksentieva led the party’s list on ballots. Early official results showed the group winning 7.9 percent of proportional-representation votes, putting it past the five-percent threshold needed to win seats in the Duma. Exit polling, however, indicates that New People might ultimately fail to cross this threshold.
Throughout Sunday, observers and voters reported hundreds of violations. Ballots have been stuffed, officials have ejected monitors from polling stations, and candidates have been assaulted. As usual, the Central Election Commission acknowledged only a handful of irregularities, singling out St. Petersburg’s election commission for criticism. Citing as supporting evidence a video that BBC Russia journalists learned was staged, federal election officials also accused the anti-Kremlin opposition of “fabricating fake reports” about voting violations. The Central Election Commission even dynamically encoded the digits in its official results in a way that scrambles the data, making it extremely difficult to copy the numbers to an external document in order to conduct independent analysis. With some annoyance, Election Commissioner Ella Pamfilova told journalists that her agency did this “to prevent the system from crashing” amid “attacks” on the commission’s website.
In some regions, governorships and seats in local legislatures were also up for grabs. In Khabarovsk, Mikhail Degtyarev will keep his job after taking over for his arrested predecessor. Preliminary results show Degtyarev, whom President Putin appointed to replace the popular Sergey Furgal, will win about 58 percent of votes. In Tuva, acting Governor Vladislav Khovalyg fared ever so slightly better, winning more than 97 percent of the first counted votes. In the Tula region, another incumbent, Alexey Dyumin, is cruising to victory with 85 percent of votes.
More updates at midnight, Moscow time: Police in St. Petersburg arrested multiple local election commission members who represent opposition candidates. Moscow’s online voting results haven’t been announced yet, several hours after voting ended, though electronic voting results in the six other regions where such voting was available were reported more than 90 minutes ago. United Russia candidates are losing in four of Moscow’s single-mandate races. The election-monitoring group Golos reported 4,647 violations during the three-day elections. Party leader Dmitry Medvedev and the two top party-list candidates, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, did not attend United Russia’s post-election event.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock