|Article Title||SEPTEMBER SURPRISES|
|Source||Current Digest of the Russian Press, The , No.30, Vol.065, July 22, 2013, page(s):13|
|Place of Publication||Minneapolis, USA|
Author: Sergei Nikanorov
SEPTEMBER SURPRISES. (By Sergei Nikanorov. Nezavisimaya gazeta, July 23, 2013, p. 3. Complete text:) On Sept. 8, 2013 [Russia's single day of voting - Trans.], a unique political opinion poll sampling will take place in Russia that will also test a number of key hypotheses: the effectiveness of the Kremlin's revamped system for managing domestic politics; the preservation (or disintegration) of solidarity among regional elites; and the prospects (or lack thereof) of a political future for the party system in general and United Russia in particular. The experiment will be extremely representative: Direct elections will be held for executive leadership positions in eight regions (for the first time in nine years), and regularly scheduled legislative assembly elections will take place in 16 regions. In addition, mayoral elections will be held in eight federation member capitals, and 12 capitals will elect deputies of representative bodies.
In recent months, experts within and close to government circles have been actively making predictions about the September results, singling out especially problematic regions. These include primarily Yaroslavl Province (where arrested Yaroslavl Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov has been selected to head [Mikhail] Prokhorov's Civic Platform party list [see Current Digest, Vol. 65, No. 28, pp. 6-9]), as well as Transbaikal Territory, Arkhangelsk Province, Vladimir Province, Smolensk Province and, to a certain extent, Irkutsk Province. In all of those regions, experts are detecting considerable friction among regional elites stemming from new gubernatorial appointments, resentment among members of the "United Russia old guard" who have been ousted from power, as well as ambitions in the regional branches of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and A Just Russia, whose members have suddenly wound up as governors. For politicians and political analysts, the Moscow Province gubernatorial and Moscow mayoral elections are extremely telling: In both cases, the authorities are clearly attempting to hold "exemplary" campaigns that would restore the public's trust in election institution s without incurring major ...
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