For more on the Russian elections we join euronews reporter Natalia Marshalkovich.
Natalia Marshalkovich: “How should we interpret the results of the Russian general election? We are joined from Paris by Tatiana Stanovaya from the Centre for Political Technologies.
Let’s begin with the turnout, it was very low compared to 2011, why?”
Tatiana Stanovaya:“Yes the turnout was much lower than expected. There are many reasons for that. Firstly we see a growing social depression across Russian society related to a reduction in the quality of life and falling salaries.
We have also seen a significant drop in interest in elections and in politics in general. You can also add that there was a strategy, adopted by authorities, to keep the turnout low.
A number of analysts agree that the Kremlin created the conditions that resulted in a low turnout and that is partly true.
The transfer of the election date from December to September added to the apathy, it is much more difficult to mobilise the electorate over the summer. Accordingly all the parties throughout the election campaign were bland and lacked substance.
The content of the campaign ignored the interest of voters. The strategic development of the country, the economic situation and foreign policy were set aside and what we got was aggressive, patriotic, rhetoric.”
Natalia Marshalkovich:“Maybe the results are related to what you say. But we see the same four parties in the Duma, but the numbers have changed, we have the seen the Communists lose ground and Zhirinovsky’s party make headway.”
Tatiana Stanovaya:“The foundation for Zhirinovsky’s success is linked to something which began four years ago, not the 2014 events with Crimea and the crisis in Ukraine, but two years earlier when Putin returned as president. From then on the Kremlin started to manipulate nationalist sentiment. Remember the article that Putin wrote in 2012 on the special role of the Russian nation. Zhirinovsky’s party then cultivated the state rhetoric for four years.
For the Communists it was difficult to maintain their support base as commentating on social issues is considered too risky. The Kremlin does not want this discussion even between political parties and they, the opposition, played the game.
Those are the rules of the game and the opposition accepted them so they could at least maintain their presence in the parliament with the same numbers.
We now see that the
strategy has failed. The three other parties lost and United Russia won a majority, so they no longer need constitutional partners.”