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Среда, 07 Декабрь, 06:12,
"What exactly does this mean??? Things like this are not supposed to happen. We are pleased to welcome with a first response to the election Vladimir Gelman of the European University of Saint Petersburg:
The famous American political scientist V.O.Key in his 1966 book, “The Responsible Electorate”, posted a well-known maxim: “Voters are not fools”. Since then, it has been oft-cited in descriptions and explanations of voting behavior in electoral democracies. December 4, 2011, proved this wisdom for the case of voting behavior under electoral authoritarian regimes. It is especially true in Russia, where voters experienced more than a decade of relatively open electoral competition and have not forgot it as yet despite numerous efforts put forth by the Kremlin. Even though the party of power, United Russia (also known by its nickname as “the party of swindlers and thieves”), was able to get a majority of seats in the State Duma (238 out of 450 seats), still its officially reported electoral results were below 50%, and in some big cities even well below 30-35%. Yet, it was far from what political scientists call as “stunning” elections when authoritarian regimes collapsed because of unexpected opening of ballot boxes (similarly to what happens in the Soviet 1989 elections to the Congress of People’s Deputies).
However, even under conditions as uneven as the playing field of Russia’s electoral authoritarianism act of voting might become a weapon of the weak citizens against the strong state, if citizens employ efficient strategies of their political resistance. Those voters, who opposed the party of power and its leaders, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, might choose between three options: (a) boycott voting altogether; (b) destroy ballot papers in order to make their voting legally invalid; and (c) vote for any other party than United Russia. The latter strategy brought some success, while the former two had almost no impact. “Voting for anyone but United Russia!” was not only a safe and legitimate choice, but also looks as not so anti-system move, and even established a kind of ad hoc negative consensus among voters from different political camps – liberals, Communists, and nationalists, as well as those voters who had no clear political and/or ideological preferences but just opposed the continuity of the status quo. This logic was quite similar to the last years of the Soviet Union, when Russian democrats cooperated with nationalist movements in (then) Soviet republics in order to overthrow the Communist regime.
The results of December 4 polls is not a major failure for the Kremlin as yet, but at least seems a warning call before the presidential voting, scheduled for March 4. Just some months ago, nobody took seriously the very idea that Putin might lose these elections or at least that run-off will be needed. Now, this option looks not totally improbable. The problem is that the Kremlin will try to avoid the risk of electoral loss by every possible means, and God knows which means will be used by Putin for the sake of his political survival.
Which lessons will be learned from December 4 polls by the Kremlin, is remain to be seen".