Regions
NewsOpinionsAnalysisServicesTrainingsAbout usRu
Новость10 June 2022, 15:01
Petr Miloserdov
Political Technologist

Over three months have passed since the start of the so-called “special military operation”. This is quite enough time briefly to assess the impact of these events on the pre-election landscape in Moscow.

Let's start with the tendencies.

Tendencies

1. Demoralization. This is perhaps the most noticeable tendency – both among potential candidates and among politically active voters. Moreover, among some of the current deputies, it has taken some forms of panic, partly discordant with the proud title of the people's elected representative. Some of the deputies-candidates have twisted themselves and others to the point of hysteria.

Moscow residents, on the whole, reacted more calmly to what was going on, traditionally limiting themselves to the purchase of buckwheat, sugar, and inexpensive household appliances. (Which once again confirms my assumption that the electorate in the capital is, for the most part, calm, balanced, and inclined to make sensible choices.)

But the candidates started weeping –  "there will be no elections", "the world will never be the same" (the old Covid line), "everyone will be deported/imprisoned", etc.

However, today the "special operation" has already become the "new normal" and some candidates/activists are ready to accept it and work within its paradigm. Well, those who are not ready and waiting (for what? Putin's collapse?) are clearly "missing a move" in this game.

2. Waiting. A strategy taken by so many candidates, even those who could be potential team leaders. Reasons:

  • Fear of not being in tune with the mood of voters regarding the "special operation”.
  • Desire to join the most popular ("winning") side.

As for the mood of the voters, sociology is no help in this case, the reasons for this being:

  • The absence of a significant number of unbiased researchers.
  • Citizens' fear/unwillingness to participate in surveys on this topic. Only five to ten percent agree to answer sociologists' questions.
  • The absence in society of any clearly articulated official position(s) on what is happening.

Therefore, the strategy of waiting is understandable.

3. Rejection. To all appearances, some of the players – “A Just Russia”, “LDPR”, and “Rodina” – decided to "skip a move", taking a purely "formal participation" in the election. The "New People" have drastically, many times over, reduced their funding. A significant number of "resource" candidates from among the small and medium-sized businesses decided not to participate, because:

  • Political risks.
  • To save money.

The Facts

Now a little bit about the facts (some of the information is insider-level).

  1. Cadres. None of the parties, except for “United Russia”, won even half of the cadre of potential candidates. The “CPRF” has the maximum number of candidates (about half), and the “New People” are in second place by a wide margin (25-30%). Independent district teams are also experiencing problems with candidates.
  2. Early start of the campaign. An early start of the campaign was made by “United Russia”. In recent days, some of the candidates of "Yabloko" began to appear in the districts, in a number of territories the “New People” and the “CPRF”.
  3. Administrative election scenario. Apparently, the mayor's office has chosen a scenario tentatively called "blossoming complexity”. Its key characteristics are the admission of a large number of candidates, including "self-nominees" and the promotion of "spoilers", but at the same time "drying up the turnout" and working exclusively on the administrative drive of "their" voters.

Findings

1. General. The agenda of the "special operation" will pressurize the campaign, this is obvious. But first of all: it has become the "new normal" people are used to what is going on. Secondly: some voters are disoriented and tired of what is happening. Therefore, the municipal and city (variant: federal) agendas can and should be returned to the meaningful field.

2. The opposition. We should wake up from this stupor and urgently go to the voters. The current situation, in which some of the potential oppo-candidates have refused to participate, increases the chances of victory for the rest.

There is another important point to be made here, which I call the "Paradox of Quiet Pacifism”. The paradox is this:

  • The "deep population" was sceptical of the militaristic pathos of their Russian superiors. This is confirmed by the actual absence of the Z symbol on cars, despite the intensified propaganda. Even the St. George ribbons are noticeably fewer this season. However, sympathy for Ukraine in the "deep population" is not visible either.
  • The only overtly "anti-war party" is “Yabloko”, which presents this agenda in a typical liberal vein.

It turns out that there is a demand for "peace" (or, more precisely, the absence of militarism), but practically no one to express it to the masses. "Practically". That's because “United Russia” claims to be the spokesperson for the quiet pacifism of the Moscow average citizen. Here I have to explain something, so as not to be accused of self-serving loyalism.

It can be argued that Sergei Semyonovich Sobyanin, as the headliner of the “United Russia” campaign, has competently crawled away from the militarism of the federal authorities.

It is enough to look at the social networks of the future winners of the "United Russia" primaries to be convinced that the Z-theme occupies no more than 10-15% of the infopromotion there, which is almost exclusively about humanitarian aid. To compare, you can look at similar blogs/accounts in the Moscow region. The Z-theme there is much brighter and more aggressive.

This means that the ideologues of “United Russia” in Moscow have staked on "quiet pacifism" and the diversion of topics to local issues. Therefore, if I were the oppositionists, I would NOT underestimate “United Russia” this season and would not prepare, like the generals from the proverb, for past wars ("Hubert-2017 vs. administrative resources", "UG-2019", etc.). Because of the panic and demoralization of a number of oppositionists, “United Russia” gets a chance to win relatively fairly – by mobilizing supporters and pulling in some of the "waverers”.