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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11413 2006-10-11 14:52 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1413/01 2841452
P 111452Z OCT 06

E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: A. MOSCOW 11172 
     B. VLADIVOSTOK 00133 
1. (SBU) As expected, the Kremlin's United Russia received a 
plurality or majority of votes cast in the elections for nine 
regional legislatures on October 8. Other key findings: 
-- the experiment with managed, two-party democracy seems to 
have succeeded from the perspective of the Presidential 
Administration and will probably be repeated in the March 
2007 elections; 
-- the center-regions vertical of power still works; 
-- western-oriented, democratic parties will likely have to 
merge and "re-brand" themselves if they want to remain in the 
political landscape; 
-- slightly lower-then-expected turnout (31-50 percent) made 
pensioners key players in the elections.  Their votes went to 
the parties of power, the Communist Party, and the Party of 
-- United Russia might face a stronger challenge from its 
Kremlin opponent once the Party of Life, the Party of 
Pensioners, and Rodina merge October 28. The Communists 
remain a limited but significant presence; 
-- United Russia fared better in rural areas than it did in 
urban areas.  Almost all opposition seats were won in urban 
-- as expected, election irregularities were alleged by party 
leaders and the press. End summary. 
2. (U) The ruling United Russia (YR) party claimed victory in 
all nine regional elections.  It received an absolute 
majority of votes cast in three and a plurality in the 
remaining six contests. The General Secretary of the YR 
General Council, Vyacheslav Volodin, in a post-election press 
interview was triumphant, describing the elections as an 
overwhelming demonstration of support for YR. Volodin 
dismissed assertions that the Party of Life (RPL) had emerged 
from the elections as the main opposition to YR, noting that 
the Communist Party (KPRF) had bested the RPL in six of the 
nine elections. (Note: RPL was disqualified from the ballot 
in two of those six elections.  The fact that YR felt the 
need to downplay RPL's performance is in itself telling.) 
3. (SBU) Lipetsk RPL representatives rejoiced in their 
results (Ref A). Although final results are not yet in, RPL 
is assured of at least two seats and possibly as many as four 
seats in the new Council. More unexpectedly, the Party of 
Pensioners (RPP) gathered almost as many votes as the RPL. 
Although better than expected, the RPP representative was 
disappointed and claimed that, "had the election been 
honest," his party would have received 15 percent of the 
vote.  Whatever the case, the RPP and RPL results bode well 
for the RPP-RPL-Rodina alliance that is to be formalized on 
October 28.  (NOTE: Post will be interested to see how these 
parties actually work together.  Their combined expected 
eight seats should give them at least a voice in local 
affairs.  Prior to the election, they had both lobbied for 
directing more resources to those in need.) 
4. (SBU) Some party leaders complained of foul play and 
election violations.  Sergey Mironov, head of the RPL, 
alleged there had been election law violations in 
Yekaterinburg and that the head of the Sverdlosk region 
electoral commission was to blame.  Mironov cited the 
distribution of flyers warning voters not to vote for the 
three merging parties (RPL, RPP, Rodina) because they would 
soon cease to exist. KPRF head Gennadiy Zyuganov complained 
that Mironov himself had violated campaign laws by having a 
long interview published in a Lipetsk newspaper after the 
election canvassing deadline.  Zyuganov also claimed that 
MOSCOW 00011413  002 OF 004 
ballot boxes in the countryside had been stuffed for YR. 
5. (SBU) In Tuva, RPL election observers cited obstacles and 
harassment that nearly prevented them from monitoring the 
elections.  The observers claimed that first their plane was 
denied landing at the airport in Tuva, and then the bus that 
they had chartered in a neighboring region was stopped by the 
authorities twice in the early morning of October 8. 
According to press reports, RPL has submitted a formal 
request for an investigation.  Tuva is RPL's strongest 
region; it took 35 percent of the vote to United Russia's 49 
6. (SBU) Moscow observers of the regional elections 
highlighted the following moments of interest in the October 
8 contests: 
-- the LDPR's poorer-than-expected performance was traceable 
to the fact that Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's v
olatile personality 
is wearing thin with voters. Zhirinvoskiy himself, in the 
estimation of Moscow observers, campaigned less energetically 
in the nine regions than he has in the past.  "Zhirinovskiy 
is getting old," said one Embassy contact; he doesn't have 
the drive he once had."  (LDPR's share of the voted declined 
from 12.8 percent in 2003 to 6.2 percent on October 8; 
-- the Tuva results are unprecedented for such a 
traditionally "administratively-controlled" region.  The 
pattern in the past has been for the Republic's 
administration to ensure the overwhelming victory of one, 
Kremlin-controlled party.  This time around, YR and RPL 
together garnered 80 percent of the votes, with a significant 
minority of that number (32.5 percent) going to the Moscow's 
number two official party; 
-- "ideological" parties generally did poorly on October 8. 
The "democratic" parties were not factors, while support for 
Rodina and LDPR sagged.  Some observers attributed the slump 
to cynicism or apathy on behalf of the more passionate part 
of the electorate.  Other factors cited:  Zhirinovskiy's loss 
of luster; and, among "informed" voters, an awareness that 
Rodina Chairman Rogozin is not longer in the Kremlin's favor; 
-- voter participation was slightly lower than expected. 
There was a general "north-south" correlation, with more 
northern, less administratively controlled regions seeing 
lower turnout and traditionally more-controlled regions 
getting more voters to the polls; 
-- there is an urban-rural divide in the electorate.  YR 
polled better in rural areas, other parties fared better in 
cities.  Voter turnout was substantially higher in rural 
areas. For example, in the Lipetsk Oblast, voter turnout was 
more than 70 percent in rural areas, and under 30 percent in 
the cities.  Only one of the five non-YR winners was elected 
outside of the city of Lipetsk. 
-- it was a "pensioners" election.  The low turnout meant 
that the votes of pensioners who, it is estimated, are three 
times more likely to vote than Russians from other age 
cohorts, were decisive.  High rates of pensioner 
participation translated into strong showings for the KPRF, 
the Russian Party of Pensioners, and the parties of power; 
-- the regions still dance to Moscow's tune.  YR and RPL 
--read Moscow-- wanted to win 50 percent of the vote and they 
came close in every region except Astrakhan. 
-- political observers argue that the experiment with 
controlled, two-party democracy was a success from the 
perspective of the Presidential Administration and will be 
continued, after the October 28 Rodina-RPL-RPP merger, into 
the March 11 elections to be held in 17 regions; 
-- if western-oriented democratic parties are to remain 
present in the political landscape, they will likely have to 
merge and "re-brand" themselves.  In Astrakhan, the Republic 
Party -- supported by Yabloko and SPS -- garnered only 1.1 
percent of the vote, far below the 7 percent they had hoped 
for.  They competed nowhere else. 
MOSCOW 00011413  003 OF 004 
7. (U) Below are the election results as reported by the 
Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, 
supplemented by press reports. Distribution of seats in the 
legislature is given where available.  Seats in the 
legislatures are distributed through a combination of party 
list and single-mandate seats. Final official tallies and 
seat allocations will be reported on October 14. 
Astrakhan  Voter turnout: 43 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      39.7       n/a 
Party of Life       0.0       n/a 
Pensioners          9.9       n/a 
Rodina             16.5       n/a 
Communists         13.9       n/a 
LDPR                7.1       n/a 
Against All         6.1       n/a 
Chuvashiya  Voter turnout: 42 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      53.9       n/a 
Party of Life       0.0        0 
Pensioners          0.0        0 
Rodina              6.5        0 
Communists         20.3       n/a 
LDPR                9.3       n/a 
Against All         4.4        - 
Jewish Autonomous Republic Voter turnout: not reported 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      55.3       n/a 
Party of Life       4.6        0 
Pensioners          9.9       n/a 
Rodina              4.5        0 
Communists         18.5       n/a 
LDPR                4.5        0 
Against All         (not on ballot) 
Karelia  Voter turnout: 31 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      41.1       n/a 
Party of Life      17.1       n/a 
Pensioners         12.7       n/a 
Rodina              0.0        0 
Communists         13.5       n/a 
LDPR                9.4       n/a 
Against All        (not on ballot) 
Lipetsk  Voter turnout: 44 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      51.8       41 
Party of Life      12.0        4 
Pensioners         11.4        4 
Rodina              0.0        0 
Communists         10.9        4 
LDPR                4.4        0 
Patriots                       1 
Independent                    2 
Against All         5.0        - 
Novgorod  Voter turnout: 31 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      44.7       n/a 
Party of Life       5.8        0 
Pensioners          0.0        0 
Rodina              3.4        0 
Communists         15.0       n/a 
LDPR                7.2       n/a 
Against All         4.7        - 
Primorye (see also Ref B)  Voter turnout: 39 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      48.3       32 
MOSCOW 00011413  004 OF 004 
Party of Life       4.6        0 
Pensioners          9.1        2 
Rodina              2.4        0 
Communists         12.2        3 
LDPR                6.1        0 
Freedom             8.7        3 
Against All        (not on ballot) 
Sverdlovsk -- Voter turnout: 28 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      40.5       15 
Party of Life       4.6        2 
Pensioners          9.9        4 
Rodina              4.5        0 
Communists         18.5        3 
LDPR                4.5        0 
Against All         (not on ballot) 
Tuva  Voter turnout: 50 percent 
                  Percent    Seats 
United Russia      46.3       n/a 
Party of Life      32.5       n/a 
Pensioners          0.0        0 
Rodina              2.3        0 
Communists          5.4        0 
LDPR                3.6        0 
Patriots            3.6        0 &#x00
0A;Against All        (not on ballot) 


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