Taylor: The authorities thought it was better to take the protests over the summer than it would be to steal the elections in September

ПОНАРС Евразия
10 Sep 2019

(VOX) Russians across the country voted this weekend, but everyone was watching city council elections in Moscow.

That’s because this summer, tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to Moscow’s streets, demanding that the city council election be free and fair after election officials barred opposition candidates in July from running for the 45 seats open on the city council. That decision turned a sleepy municipal election into a huge political controversy that intensified amid police crackdowns against demonstrators and opposition figures.

Election officials didn’t reverse their decision, and the elections went ahead as planned on September 8. [...]

“The authorities made a calculation back in the summer: that it was better to keep the actual opposition candidates — the people associated with Navalny — off the ballot and take the protests over the summer, than it would be to steal the elections in September and face protests over that,” Brian Taylor, a professor at Syracuse University and author of The Code of Putinism, told me. “And they may have calculated right on this.”

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