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Predictability Reigns

Radio Free Europe reports on the predictable results of yesterday’s regional Russian elections, in which the ruling United Russia party swept all nine legislative races:

According to preliminary results, Unified Russia’s share of the vote in the regional elections ranged from 79.3 in Tatarstan to 42.46 percent in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Final figures for overall turnout have yet to be produced, but throughout the country, the number of voters who showed up at the polls was significantly lower than during either the 2008 presidential or the 2007 parliamentary polls.

Moscow-based political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin told RFE/RL’s Russian Service that enthusiasm and expectations among the electorate were low.

“This was all very predictable. In the first place, turnout was low. People didn’t feel the need to vote because they didn’t have a very high opinion of these elections,” Oreshkin said.

“Second, election results largely depend on the use of local administrative resources,” he continued. “This is particularly true in regions with obedient electorates like in the North Caucasus. Third, a wide mass of people still do not understand the crisis.”