You must all be sick of me talking about the Russian elections so this is going to be my last post on it in this series.
There is talk amongst my friends of a shift towards Putin amongst the socio-economic elites, which have long been voting against Putin. This is true, but only to the extent that there has been a ~15% [almost 20% accounting for less electoral fraud in 2018] point shift towards Putin across the board.
But the underlying dynamics have remained in place:
- Relatively more Putinophilia amongst the older, poorer, and lower IQ.
- Relatively less Putinophilia amongst the young, richer, more cosmopolitan, and higher IQ.
Indeed, it would have been surprising if it were otherwise. In reality, deep electoral shifts are very rare events. The most recent one in the US, for instance, is the inversion of Democrats/Republicans that occurred during as a result of the Southern Strategy. The most recent such change in Russia was the Red Belt’s change from opposing the center in the 1990s, to supporting it (even while they remained relatively pro-Communist) – in contrast, in the 1990s, it was the northern areas, and especially Moscow and SPB, that most supported Yeltsin and the reformers.
President of Londongrad
Putin may be President of Londongrad now, taking over from Prokhorov in the last elections, but he still gets his lowest results abroad in places like the United Kingdom [52%] versus the average of 77% in Russia as a whole.
This is massively up from Putin’s 22% in the UK in 2012 – an improvement twice greater than in Russia as a whole – but considering that a large proportion of politically active liberals were following Navalny’s directive to boycott the vote, and that there are few places where the percentage of Navalny supporters amongst Russians is greater than in London, the discrepancy is easy to explain.
In general, Putin got his lowest results in the Far Abroad (areas outside the former USSR).
I have written a lot about Moscow’s demographic/economic/electoral geography:
- Hurrah for the Bourgeois Candidate!: http://akarlin.com/2013/09/hurrah-for-bourgeois-candidate/
- Mapping Moscow’s Tolerance
- Russian Globalists Around the Globe
- The Moscow Municipal Elections 2017
- Russian Liberals Are the Nomenklatura’s Children
- The East and North votes: United Russia/Putin, nationalist, Communist; has lower property prices, more “racism” (as proxied by discriminatory ads for rental properties), more gopniks, more vatniks.
- The Center/West/South-West: Votes more liberal; has higher property prices, more SWPL, bobos, organic food courts, bike rental stations.
These elections have been no different in this respect.
If 51% of Russian voters voted for Putin (turnout 67% * Putin 77%), then only about 45% did so in Moscow, and only a bit more than a third did so in Tverskaya, the most elite district of Moscow, which abuts the Kremlin.
E.g., see below:
Map of 2013 Moscow mayoral election between Sobyanin [blue] and Navalny [green].
Moscow municipal elections 2017 (left), with green = liberal wins, and locations of Azbuka Vkusa high-end food chain.
Now here are some maps from the current elections that confirm these patterns remain in place [all of these via Alexander Kireev's blog].
Turnout in 2018, Moscow.
Putin vote in 2018, Moscow.
More or less perfectly replicates 2012, when Putin got 51% in Moscow (now: 71%), but moved up by 20% points.
Change in turnout between 2012 and 2018.
This is a very cool map because we actually get to see the “vote” for Navalny, which expressed itself as a boycott of the election; thus, while turnout in Russia increased from 65.3% to 67.5% – in reality, an increase of around 5% points because there was less electoral fraud in 2018 vs. 2012 – in Moscow turnout increased from 58.1% to 59.9% i.e. 2% points, because elections in both 2012 and 2018 were fair in the capital – with turnout actually falling in the most elite areas.
Elections 2018, Zhirinovsky vs. Sobchak
Elections 2018, Zhirinovsky vs. Yavlinsky
As usual, liberals did relatively better amongst SWPLs, while nationalists did relatively better amongst vatniks.
Map of Sobchak vote in Saint-Petersburg via Oleg Lisowsky (pink is higher).
Once again, the central areas (higher property prices, wealthier, higher IQ) are relatively far more supportive of liberalism.
The Red Belt
Communist KPRF [red] vs. nationalist LDPR [blue] in 2016 Duma elections.
Communist Grudinin vs. Zhirinovsky in these elections.
The traditional north/south division (“Red Belt) has been preserved, with southerners voting relatively more for Communists as well as Putin/the party of power, and northerners voting relatively more for nationalists and liberals.
Elections as Referendums
In one of my articles, I argued that Russian elections under Putin are a sort of regime referendum.
Does this make sense in the context of this election?
Yes, it does. Here are two regions that had substantially lower pro-Putin votes than “expected” of them:
1. Sakha (Yakutia) Republic gave Putin the lowest vote of any region, while giving an amazing 27% to Grudinin.
But as one local describes it, this was apparently motivated by local dissatisfaction with the state of affairs [Google Translate]:
1. Yakutia is not a “red” region, but a region with an extremely high degree of discontent with the authorities (primarily regional ones) – so this is a protest vote. As an example, in the last election of the head of Yakutia, 30% of the candidates were recruited, generally not at all known, having no resources, etc., without a program, neither right nor left, but admitted to elections – as a way to show dissatisfaction with local authority in the person Acting Head, a protege of Putin and the EP.
2. Local people really do not like the Head, and the rural Yakuts do not like, there are many reasons, there is not enough room to paint.
And the Russian population lives in cities and industrial towns, there is essentially not a local government, but large companies – Alrosa, Mechel, Surgut, etc., they do not care about the local politics, they vote as the company says. And in the villages the Yakut people are very interested in politics, and in this case they voted out of protest because of the wild dislike of the local authorities and the hope that after this result the chapter will be removed.
3. And this has grounds – for the third day the Yakut internet is full of joyful rumors – Moscow heard us, GDP will not pass by such shameful result and the Head will be replaced.
In general, it is not the effect of the “red” region, or the special attraction of the director of the state farm (although this is), but the hope that, at least so, Moscow will pay attention to problems and change leadership.
2. The town of Volokolamsk, 120 km from Moscow, which has been a focal point of anger with the authorities for months due to their failure to deal with a rubbish dump that is poisoning the locals.
There, Putin got 70% but with only 44% turnout, translating to the support of only 31% of active voters – that’s less than in elite Tverskaya!!
People there are very unhappy, and are making their voice heard.