07MOSCOW1023, REGIONAL ELECTIONS: UNITED RUSSIA WINS THIRTEEN;

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1023 2007-03-12 12:19 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2516
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1023/01 0711219
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 121219Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8134
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001023 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/12/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM RS
SUBJECT: REGIONAL ELECTIONS:  UNITED RUSSIA WINS THIRTEEN; 
JUST RUSSIA GETS ON THE SCOREBOARD 
 
REF: 06 MOSCOW 11413 
 
Classified By: DCM Daniel A. Russell for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 
 
1. (SBU)  Summary:  Preliminary, unconfirmed results from 
regional elections held March 11 in fourteen Russian regions 
show the Kremlin-backed United Russia party in first place in 
thirteen of the fourteen contests.  United Russia did not win 
more than forty percent of the votes in all contests, as 
hoped, and it may have lost the Stavropol race to the 
"second," Kremlin-approved party, "For A Just Russia."  "For 
A Just Russia" appears to have finished a strong second in a 
number of key regions, and seems well-positioned for the 
December State Duma elections.  Preliminary results suggest 
that the Communist Party (KPRF) and Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's 
LDPR crossed the seven-percent threshold in most other 
legislatures, with results in the 12 - 19 percent range.  To 
the surprise of many observers, the Union of Right Forces 
(SPS) crossed the seven-percent threshold in at least four of 
the eight regions in which it was registered.  Election 
monitors have reported violations, but a final report card on 
the election will have to await a complete tally of the votes 
and the reactions of observers at polls around the country. 
Final results are expected by March 15.  End summary. 
 
------------------ 
United Russia Wins 
------------------ 
 
2. (SBU)  The ruling party had a very good day at the March 
11 polls, with United Russia receiving 69 percent of the vote 
in Dagestan (septel to follow), almost 50 percent in the 
Moscow region, and 48 percent in Tomsk and Pskov.  (As of 
this writing, preliminary results are available for 
Stavropol, Tomsk, Samara, Leningrad region, St. Petersburg, 
and Dagestan only.)  United Russia appears not to have 
achieved its widely-announced target of garnering over forty 
percent of the vote in all regions, although it came close, 
winning 34 - 39 percent of the votes in regions where 
preliminary results are available, including 38 percent in 
St. Petersburg. 
 
---------------------------- 
Just Russia: Takes Stavropol 
---------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU)  For A Just Russia (SR), the Kremlin's "left-wing" 
party, claimed in the wake of the election to have achieved 
its goal of breaking United Russia's monopoly on political 
power.  SR's Mikhail Demurin told us March 12 that his party 
had never doubted it would pass the seven-percent threshold 
in these elections. (Preliminary reports indicate that SR may 
not have received seven percent in the Omsk election.) 
Demurin underscored that SR's success boded well for the 
upcoming State Duma election, and averred that now United 
Russia would need to take Just Russia's position into account 
in writing legislation. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
KPRF and LDPR: Representation Achieved 
-------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU)  KPRF and LDPR appear to have polled in the 12 - 19 
percent range, with KPRF at the higher end in most reported 
contests.  KPRF's Gennadiy Zyuganov professed himself pleased 
with the results, noting that KPRF had doubled its share of 
the vote in a number of big cities, including St. Petersburg. 
 He dismissed the possibility, floated by Just Russia's 
Sergey Mironov, that KPRF would be willing to form coalitions 
with SR and LDPR in regional legislatures. 
 
-------------------- 
SPS: Getting a Voice 
-------------------- 
 
5. (SBU)  To the surprise of many observers, the liberal 
Union of Right Forces (SPS) appears to have crossed the 
seven-percent threshold in four of the eight regions where it 
was registered.  The lone exception, for regions where 
results are available, was Omsk.  SPS received approximately 
eight percent of the vote in Samara, Tomsk, and Stavropol and 
is reportedly hovering at about seven percent in Leningrad 
region.  SPS Deputy Chairman Leonid Gozman told us March 12 
that he was disappointed with the Omsk results and pegged 
SPS's poor showing in St. Petersburg to Yabloko, which had 
urged its voters to boycott the elections following Yabloko's 
failure to be registered.  Yabloko voters, Gozman thought, 
would have otherwise cast their votes for his party.  The 
results showed, Gozman said, that SPS was the only liberal 
party capable of competing nationally. 
 
MOSCOW 00001023  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C)  The better-than-expected performance of SPS, 
including in regions where its party machine was negligible 
(Tomsk, Samara, and Stavropol), intensified speculation of 
behind-the-scenes support from the Kremlin -- a charge SPS 
rejects.  (Golos told us that SPS representatives in Samara 
boasted of being "promised" ten percent.) 
 
----------- 
Yabloko Out 
----------- 
 
7. (SBU) Yabloko appears not to have crossed the threshold in 
any region.  Party representatives contacted by the Embassy 
refused to comment on the elections until all results are in. 
 
---------------------------
-------------- 
Preliminary Reports Show Minor Violations 
----------------------------------------- 
 
8. (SBU)  There have been scattered reports of election day 
violations, especially in St. Petersburg, Samara, and Omsk. 
Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Veshnyakov said 
March 12 that neither the CEC nor the St. Petersburg regional 
election commission had received reports of serious violation 
on election day.  In Dagestan, criminal proceedings will be 
brought for the theft of 1916 ballots.  In Tuva's run-off 
election, one candidate's name was allegedly omitted from a 
ballot.  According to SPS Deputy Gozman, elections in Samara 
and Komi met basic standards.  Embassy will provide a fuller 
analysis of the elections once complete results are available. 
 
------------- 
Voter Turnout 
------------- 
 
9. (SBU) Prior to the election, commentators suggested that 
changes to the election law, especially the removal of the 
"against all" box on the ballot and the elimination of a 
minimal voter turnout requirement would induce voters to sit 
out the election.  Veshnyakov, citing an average turnout of 
33 percent, reported March 12 that there had been no 
significant decline in voter participation on March 11 and, 
in fact, turnout in the fourteen regions was higher than it 
had been four years ago. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
10. (C)  Given United Russia's easy access to administrative 
resources, its near-sweep was not unexpected, but the strong 
showing made by the other three parties: Just Russia, KPRF, 
and LDPR indicate that the upcoming Duma and Presidential 
elections may be closer than expected.  SPS's somewhat 
surprising results in several regions indicate that it is 
learning how to translate a negligible political presence 
into votes. 
BURNS

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