Posted 21 сентября 2021,, 07:06

Published 21 сентября 2021,, 07:06

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Andrey Movchan: why Smart Voting turned out to be not only useless, but also harmful

21 сентября 2021, 07:06
According to the well-known analyst, "smart voting" has led to the fact that when the government changes and the society has a window of choice, it will turn out that the opposition with the help of the "Smart Voting" pushed him to choose the restoration of the USSR.

The election results, as expected, ended in a complete defeat for the democratic opposition. As the political scientist Tatyana Stanovaya accurately noted, the future Duma resembles “a tightly packed pear: they pushed in as much of the United Russia party as possible, taking into account the heavily swollen communists, and even squeezed in the New People. Mainly due to the squeezing of the Liberal Democratic Party - while they slept, like the head of the insect department in the movie "Garage", they decided everything for them..."

The well-known Russian analyst Andrey Movchan dedicated several publications on the eve of the elections to the Smart Voting strategy, which the Democrats so hoped for:

The opposition, we recall, was offered a scheme for voting in the elections to the Duma.

It was necessary to vote for the candidate who has the greatest chances, but does not belong to the United Russia. Moreover, those who had the greatest chances were determined by some analysts using a certain method, and the list was “descended” by the voters who must follow it regardless of their preferences. The purpose of this vote was: to reduce the representation of United Russia in the Duma, which should have made it difficult to adopt Kremlin-inspired bills of a repressive nature, in addition, to demonstrate to the Kremlin the large number of dissatisfied with the policy of United Russia, as well as to activate the protest electorate to participate in the elections.

Already when the voting ended, Movchan listed his theses against the Smart Voting, thereby confirming their correctness:

“I argue that this scheme is partly harmful, partly useless. Here are my arguments:


a) A decrease in United Russia’s representation in the Duma compared to the target set by the Kremlin, leading to difficulties in passing the necessary laws, given the current level of falsifications and the current level of support for the initiatives of the non-systemic opposition (the latter, even according to the authors of the idea, is up to 7-9%, the former is obvious goes off scale for 10%) is an unsolvable task, no matter how smart the vote is. Even if the Smart Voting “chooses” its quota ”of 9%, and falsifications cannot be increased“ on occasion ”(and this and that is obviously wrong, but let's assume), the United Russia will receive, say, not 51% of mandates, but 42% of mandates. In the presence of completely controlled parties in the Duma (and there are really no others there, as you understand), the question will not even rest on a coalition with another party, but simply on the number of handouts to the deputies. Perhaps the Kremlin will have to spend more money on convincing deputies from the Liberal Democratic Party, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and / or the SR of the need to be loyal - well, so much the worse for pensioners and the health care system, which will not receive this money from the budget.

b) The Kremlin knows very well how many people are dissatisfied in the country and with what. They have no illusions, otherwise they would not have held out in power so firmly and for so long. Knowing this, he organizes his policy not at all in order to appease the disaffected, but on the contrary - in order to strengthen his defense against protests. The Smart Voting will not give the Kremlin any new knowledge, especially since no information can be obtained from the "vote for someone else's candidate" scheme - indeed, here is a deputy from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation; X people voted for him - who of them simply supports the communists, and who voted like that within the framework of the "Smart Voting"?

c) The activity of the protest electorate is probably good, but what is the point of raising it? Today it does not affect the outcome of the elections. Tomorrow, when there will be "fair" elections, your electorate will be trained to vote not according to their conscience, not for those whose programs they share, but for those whose names will be lowered from above by the compilers of the list, "because this is required by the highest expediency" - just like from United Russia. Do you want that?


a) Actually, I already started about harm in paragraph (c) above. I understand that during the Soviet era, people in Russia got used to voting that way. In my opinion, the task is precisely to disaccustom them to vote on orders and within the framework of a "cunning strategy" and to teach them to vote independently and for those whom they themselves choose on a competitive basis. Yes, today their candidates will often not pass (unless they sincerely choose the United Russia Party or the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) - let it be a training of conscience and understanding of what elections are in a free country; do what you must and come what may. By the way, in the beautiful Russia of the future (not in the one where UR was replaced by another monopolist, but in the present), their candidates will also often not pass - let them get used to it. “Smart Voting” is a way to fix the idea of “new leaders with old methods” in the minds of people; it is not a movement forward (even such a small one as in "fair" voting), it is driving oneself even deeper into the ground.

b) It turns out that in Russia the second most popular party after United Russia is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. "Smart Voting" translates into massive support for the CPRF by virtue of its mechanism (and not because there is a collusion with the CPRF, I do not assert this). In my opinion, such support has three big problems: (1) The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, at least formally, adheres to an ideology and program that is much more harmful for Russia than the United Russia Party. Voting is an action; any psychologist knows what a "confirmatory action" is and how it affects the human psyche. Voting for those who officially wish to return to the USSR, erect monuments to Stalin and wear flowers to Lenin, whatever cunning strategy may be behind it, cannot but destroy the inner sense of conscience and honesty in a liberal-minded person; protection from this will be an attempt to accept the program of the Communist Party, and / or find an excuse for yourself. And this and that - destroys a person and will lead to the left of the liberal electorate; (2) Many rightly point out that in spite of the program and flowers to the murderers and dictators, the CPRF in reality consists of opportunists who do not believe in the ideals of socialism, who use the CPRF (and lie about their beliefs) just to get into power - they say, what to worry about about their program if they themselves don't believe in it. This is true and even more terrifying. With workers and peasants who believe in the state, it might still be possible to conduct a discussion, persuade, in the end - to negotiate. With a scoundrel who is ready to lie to anything, just to be chosen, there is nothing to discuss - he will lie; it is impossible to agree - he will betray. The proposal to vote for a person, justified by the phrase "he is not a communist - he is just a liar and a scoundrel" should act even more demoralizing. Ultimately, we do not increase the percentage of citizens who want to accept the values of a liberal-democratic society, but we decrease: we train citizens to go against their conscience and vote for those whom they do not respect and whose opinions do not share - in order to achieve some vague goals that clearly unattainable. Why will these citizens stop acting the same way at the moment of fair elections? Or maybe there is a long-term calculation for this - just the list at that moment should be different? What do we want - citizens, or rams, but "our" rams? (3) Suppose the "Smart Voting" gave a significant result and the Communist Party faction in the Duma ("Smart Voting" supports the Communist Party of the Russian Federation as a party and more than 60% of candidates in single-mandate constituencies - from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) has grown dramatically? As a result, the influence of leftist ideas on the Kremlin's policy will increase - the Kremlin generally tries to pursue a populist policy, and this will be a natural development of events. In addition, the top of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation will demand much more for their loyalty than before. A party consisting of convinced socialist-Leninists and camouflaged crooks will greatly increase the resource of development and influence on the masses. Today it will not "overthrow" the power; but when the government really changes and society has a window of choice, it will turn out that with the help of "Smart Voting" we pushed the society to the choice of restoring the USSR, not only corrupting our electorate, but also giving more resources to the communists. Is this what we want?

c) There is a lot of talk about "showing how many of us". But what if (and this is much more likely, I'm writing this before the election results are announced, so I don't really know how) the result is a demonstration of how few of us are we? Messages from supporters of "Smart Voting" that 5% of the loss of United Russia and 5% of the acquisition of the Communist Party is the merit of "Smart Voting" will be read by 1-2 million people. The reports of the central channels that United Russia remains the favorite party of the Russian population, and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is the only alternative, but that no democratic parties at all entered the Duma, everyone else will watch. The propaganda effect of this will be unambiguous; the effect of Yabloko's return to the Duma would be exactly the opposite, even if in minimal volumes (oh, I understand, you will tell me that Yabloko is not at all what it seems - and therefore bad. - you just proved that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is not at all what it seems and therefore good).