Liberals in Russia operating in tough political circumstances have cause to celebrate after a series of victories in the local and regional elections held in Moscow and across the country on 10 September.
ALDE Party member parties in Russia, YABLOKO and some candidates of Parnas, participated in a ‘United Democrats’ coalition with former MP Dmitry Gudkov, which saw candidates defeat those of President Putin’s United Russia.
YABLOKO’s managed to overcome the 5% threshold in the Pskov region in the North-West, the Moscow region and the Sakhalin region in the Far East, with candidates also winning in their constituencies in the Krasnodar Territory, the Moscow region, the Pskov region and the Vologda region.
In Moscow YABLOKO obtained 181 mandates across the 51 municipal councils, thus becoming the second party in the capital of Russia with the largest number of municipal deputy mandates, after the ruling United Russia.
YABLOKO won the elections in six Russian regions: from Pskov in the North-West to Sakhalin in the Far East https://t.co/piH3oNSL6J— YABLOKO Party (@YablokoParty) September 11, 2017
In a victory full of symbolic overtones, YABLOKO won all 12 seats available in the Gagarinsky district which was where President Vladimir Putin cast his own vote on Sunday. Elsewhere in Moscow, YABLOKO also won the majority of the mandates in the districts of Yakimanka (9 out of 10), Tverskoy (10 out of 12), Sokol (7 out of 10), Troparevo-Nikulino (7 out of 10), Khamovniki (10 out of 15), Lomonosovsky district (6 out of 10) and Maryina Roscha (6 out of 10).
Speaking as the results came in, YABLOKO leader Emilia Slabunova noted that the turnout of voters in Moscow was unprecedentedly low (about 15%) which “means that all the levels of power made every effort to prevent the voters from learning about the elections.”
She regretted that YABLOKO candidates were not able to participate in the gubernatorial elections in the Novgorod, Sverdlovsk and Yaroslavl Regions, where Yabloko nominated Anna Cherepanova, Yevgeny Royzman and Oleg Vinogradov. The authorities used the administrative resource and municipal filter to drop their opponents from the race. “This [the municipal filter] is a means of humiliation of voters and manipulation of municipal deputies,” Emilia Slaunova commented.
"Яблоко" создаст центр новой муниципальной политики: https://t.co/P7bqQ47wTL— Эмилия Слабунова (@slabunova) September 11, 2017
Independent politician and former MP Dmitry Gudkov said Yabloko has became “the second political force in Moscow” and the only force “which is able to resist [Moscow Mayor] Sobyanin, and Putin and his electoral commissions and cheating of voters about the election date.”
YABLOKO founder Grigory Yavlinsky added: “This is as it should be. So go ahead. The presidential elections will come soon.”
In Parnas’ view, the outcome of these elections means that “the political situation in the city has changed.” As they issued in a statement, “the consolidated voice of elected democrat deputies can become a serious political factor in city life. We urge democratic forces and victorious candidates to join forces at the citywide level.”
In Moscow, Parnas candidates Vadim Korovin (the Filevsky Park district) and Vladimir Krasilnikov (the Academic district) were elected municipal deputies. The Parnas candidate for governor of the Yaroslavl region Sergey Balabaev took third place with 5.88% while the party list in the elections to the municipality of Yaroslavl gained about 4% of the vote, which was not enough for victory. Ilya Yashin, a former member, Vice President of Parnas and ally of Boris Nemtsov, took first place in central Moscow’s Krasnoselsky district and declared: “there is a new sheriff in town.”
While local councillors have little political power, their support is vital for anyone who wants to stand in mayoral elections in Moscow. Therefore, with the election of almost 200 United Democrats councillors, it will make it much easier for the opposition to challenge Sergei Sobyanin, the Kremlin-backed mayor of Moscow, at next year’s elections.
Local elections took place in 82 of 85 regions across Russia. All sitting and acting governors — every one of them a candidate from United Russia, the country’s ruling political party — won their elections in Russia’s 16 governors’ races.
Yabloko leaders summed up the first results of the election day: http://eng.yabloko.ru/?p=18247
Statement on the results of the elections (Parnas): https://parnasparty.ru/news/393
Recapping Sunday's elections: United Russia sweeps gubernatorial races, while ‘United Democrats’ break through in Moscow (Meduza) https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/09/11/recapping-russia-s-sunday-elections-united-russia-sweeps-gubernatorial-races-while-united-democrats-break-through-in-moscow