The difficult economic situation in the country against the backdrop of the global epidemic does not add "bonuses" even to the ruling party, in addition, political strategists are hinting at a possible rotation of top officials in all factions. Who can benefit from the "covid", and for whom the pandemic will result in the collapse of political plans, who will be able to count on pre-election "coaxing" payments, and how politicians can do without campaigning in social networks, read in the series of publications of Novye Izvestia.
Most experts agree that the upcoming elections are real Russian roulette, and their results may surprise Russians. At the same time, all possible options for using the pandemic as an excuse for the most incredible voting methods will be worked out.
Ilya Grashchenkov - General Director of the Center for the Development of Regional Policy:
- Covid opened Pandora's box. Those "hemp" technologies were unthinkable two years ago. The work of observers is getting harder and harder. But to collect the required number of votes, on the contrary, is easier. Preliminary voting, online voting, lasting several days - all this together provides an excellent field of maneuver, where it is almost impossible to track whether a falsification has taken place. I do not think that they will be able to come up with any other methods of voting under the guise of a covid specifically for this election, because nothing else is needed!
All of the above gives in fact a guarantee that the right candidates will receive the right percentage. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that in 2011 we were faced with a situation when United Russia was supported by 20-30% (by the way, as it is today), and after the elections they received much more. Such blatant falsifications led to unrest on Bolotnaya Square. Now, by the way, the situation due to the pandemic is already tense to the limit, so such a number can turn sideways stronger.
We will see who the covid will play in the positive direction, and who will play in the negative, Grashchenkov said. But we can say that in those regions where there is support for the ruling party, it will remain so, but it will be more difficult to earn new points. What this is connected with can be seen on the example of the Khabarovsk Territory. The situation there is already difficult after the arrest of Furgal. To somehow prove himself Degtyarev needs to actively communicate with the population, organize meetings, and this is prohibited due to the epidemic situation. So it turns out that there is no connection and there is nowhere to get new votes.
Political scientist Alexander Kynev agrees that it is difficult to come up with new, even more sophisticated voting methods:
- Last spring a package of amendments was adopted, to which there is nothing to add, it is already very tough. Including a sharp restriction of electoral rights - for example, a ban on the nomination of people convicted under articles of moderate severity. It is also more difficult now for candidates to register due to the fact that the registration rules for signatures have changed. The marriage rate has dropped to 5%, and at the same time, now on the sheets you need to write with your own hand not only the signature and date, but also the surname, name, patronymic.
Obviously, with such a large amount of data, people will make more mistakes, and, therefore, more sheets will be rejected. From all this it turns out that there will be more non-admission to the elections.
In addition, at the end of last year, a package was adopted related to marking individuals as foreign agents. It turns out that any objectionable person who dares to criticize the authorities can be registered as foreign agents. It is significant that the first five of these "agents" are journalists who wrote articles that were not pleasing to officials. It turns out that all the necessary actions have been taken - and unwanted candidates will not register, and any criticism immediately falls under the article and sanctions. I think we will also face military actions. Everything is prepared.
Nevertheless, according to Kynev, now this massive use of repression and denial of popular people can lead to a cumulative effect. “Different crises merge, creating one big one. The principle, when autocracy is destroyed from within, has not been canceled. The authorities lack a sense of proportion and internal criticism. Stupidity has no boundaries, creating and breeding problems, we observe exactly this. On the face of it, escalation, an increase in rates. The process began in 2019 and is only gaining momentum. There will be scandals, moreover, "merged from the inside" - the expert sums up.
Dmitry Oreshkin - political scientist, leading researcher at the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
- Covid in many states does not play into the hands of the current leadership. The economy is slowing down, people are annoyed, problems with schools, complaints about the organization of health care. So, the pandemic in normal countries does not add much love to the current government. But! The same covid, but specifically in Russia, gives a great advantage to political strategists.
When the state is manipulative and falsified, a pandemic provides a wonderful excuse or cover for any action. For example, early elections, elections on the Internet - all this is not due to the pandemic, but only under its cover. How can you control the process if the voting is extended over three days? Where are the bulletins stored? Who has access to them? Who fixes them?
To summarize, for the current regime, Covid only creates advantages. The power vertical tightly controls the counting process, and it will receive the necessary numbers. It will be difficult to calculate the real support.
But there are experts who urge not to rush and not to guess, in their opinion, the situation may change dramatically, and then you will have to navigate on the spot.
Alexey Mukhin - General Director of the Center for Political Information:
- Covid has already influenced these elections, which is obvious. At least because the primaries, which were supposed to take place at the end of that year, were postponed to this one. We have not yet seen the lists of candidates, we do not know which of them will enlist the help of the governors. Perhaps the elections will be postponed altogether. Yes, this is unlikely, but nothing should be surprising. It turns out that the third wave will come - that's all.
Moreover, we do not even know for sure whether there will be a rotation of the heads of the LDPR and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which in general may change the course of the entire policy.
The agenda changes depending on each new case, new laws come out at lightning speed. Probably the only thing you can be sure of is that the elections will last for several days.
Anatoly Spirin, the author of the political telegram channel "Something like this":
- The only ones who will be and have already turned out to be “in the black” from the “covid” elections are the federal and regional authorities and their projects: multi-day voting, as a key development of the pandemic 2020, will undoubtedly find itself again in the elections this year. Power in its electoral innovation will stop only when it does not feel any risks in the elections, as it has been for the past few years.
Protest potential is growing. As an insane initiative, it will probably be proposed to admit to the elections only on the basis of a "covid passport", which will, if necessary, weed out unwanted groups of citizens from voting under the pretext of ensuring epidemiological safety.
It seems that the main task of the authorities in the "covid" elections will be to find a balance between legitimacy and the growing distrust of the authorities on the part of the impoverished population. But the political strategists will have where to turn around. About what arsenal of methods of struggle for the seats of people's representatives they will use in the new conditions - in the next article of Novye Izvestia.