Putin’s support is weakening. Will that show up in Russia’s regional elections this weekend?

10 Sep 2020

(Monkey Cage) On Sunday, Russia will hold regional elections. Voters will cast ballots in some 9,000 races in 83 regions, with everything from elections to fill national legislature vacancies to elections for regional governors and municipal councils.

According to the respected Russian election monitoring group Golos, these elections are likely to be a sham. Even the Communists, a tame, officially recognized opposition party, have not been allowed to register candidates in seven of the 18 governor’s races. Real independent candidates have found it harder than ever to get on the ballot.

Since the beginning, the Putin system has been built on twin pillars. On one side, Putin has relied on a formidable apparatus of authoritarian control and repressive security organizations. On the other, he has claimed true popular legitimacy, buoyed by high levels of mass support and an ability to dominate elections. [...]

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Co-authors: Bryn Rosenfeld, Samuel Greene, Jeremy Morris, Grigore Pop-Eleches, and Graeme Robertson.