On September 10 there was a round of gubernatorial elections in Russia, as well as elections to local councils in Moscow.
There’s a lot of confusion on account of whether it was a victory for United Russia.
On the one hand, the low turnout – which traditionally favors more motivated liberals – allowed them to outright win most of the prestigious areas of Moscow.
Amazing correlation between liberal victories (green) and bike sharing stations, that ultimate SWPL symbol.
On the other hand, United Russia did score 76% even in Moscow, gaining 1,150 deputies out 1,500. In contrast, liberal opposition, with 180 deputies, didn’t even manage to gather enough mandates to pass the municipal filter for participation in the Mayoral elections in September 2018. Since municipal councils in Moscow are toothless, having no access to the city budget and answering for little more than park benches, this would seem to be irrelevant.
That said, one thing that most people agree on is that this was a defeat for Navalny. He had distanced himself from the Moscow elections, not out of ideological reasons but personal ones; his deputy Leonid Volkov had fallen out with Maxim Kats, a liberal hipster figurehead who went on to unite with Dmitry Gudkov to form the United Democrats, the anti-Putin opposition bloc that went on to sweep SWPLy Moscow in close cooperation with Yavlinsky’s Yabloko. Incidentally, their positions are radically anti-Russian, more so even than Navalny’s; according to insider accounts, disavowal of Crimea – to say nothing of the Donbass – was a hard condition of entry into their coalition. Although this performance might not be that impressive in the large picture, it still probably counts for more than the number of Navalny’s YouTube views.
How important is this development? Probably, not very.
First, turnout was only 15%, and this naturally favored the liberals, who are more motivated than average.
Second, this pattern of voting is in any case a long-established pattern going back to the 1990s, in which the better educated, higher social status (higher IQ, in short) districts vote more strongly for liberal candidates. As I have long pointed out, the problem of very hostile elites is a problem common to both Russia and America.
See the data analysis by Emil Kirkegaard here:
In the less prestigious, lower IQ, more prole areas, United Russia came out well ahead. My own district is pretty representative in this respect.
In terms of the average share of the vote of each political faction (you could vote for up to five people), United Russia got ~1,500, the liberals ~700, the commies ~700, and the nationalists ~300.
Personally I voted for two LDPR candidates, one from Rodina, and some green/ecological chick (she was not in United Russia, a commie, or a liberal traitor, so that was fine by me).
On the one hand, these results are still pretty encouraging; Moscow’s peripheries still reject the Westernist cargo cult, unlike the coddled hipsters of Central Moscow, who hate Russia despite everything that Mayor Sobyanin has done for them in transforming their living spaces into the gentrified SWPL urbanist paradise that they have always yearned for. But is United Russia actually a political force in its own right, or is it just a facade for normies who don’t want to “rock the boat,” and which will fold as quickly as did the Party of Regions in the Ukraine when the pedal is put to the metal? If it’s the latter, with liberals and commies running neck and neck, and nationalists basically out of the picture, the prospects for Russia will be grim in the event of a color revolution.