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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1431 2007-03-30 13:43 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1431/01 0891343
R 301343Z MAR 07

E.O. 12958: N/A 
MOSCOW 00001431  001.2 OF 003 
1. (SBU)  Summary: The results of the March 11 regional 
elections suggest that the success of the Kremlin's 
experiment in managed democracy has come at the (minor) 
expense of the United Russia (YR) party.  For A Just Russia 
(SR) (the other Kremlin-backed party) and the Communist Party 
(KPRF) emerged from the regional contests satisfied with 
their comparatively strong, and in the case of the KPRF, 
surprising, results.  Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's LDPR was 
broadly weaker than in the last Duma election, but still on 
the board in most contests, leaving it, YR, SR, and the KPRF 
virtually certain to cross the threshold to representation in 
the December Duma elections.  The prospects of the Union of 
Right Forces (SPS) are less certain, although the party's 
new-found populism and, some argue, a green light from the 
Kremlin allowed it to gain representation in four of the 
fourteen contests held March 11. Although SPS is contesting 
the results of some of the regional elections, decisions on 
its appeals are unlikely to cause major adjustments in the 
make-up of the regional legislatures.   End summary. 
United Russia: Victorious, But... 
2. (SBU) Instead of elation, the Kremlin-sponsored United 
Russia's (YR) March 11 sweep of all fourteen regional races 
has produced some disappointment in the party.  Regional 
leaders in Orel and Stavropol, where YR did worse then 
predicted, have been criticized and some have termed YR's 
lower than predicted numbers a "defeat" for the party. 
Despite 615.8 million rubles in financing (50 percent more 
than its most serious competitor, For A Just Russia) and near 
unfettered access to administrative resources, YR did more 
poorly in four regions (Leningrad, Orel, Samara, and 
Stavropol) than in the 2003 State Duma elections. 
Just Russia: Pleasing Debut 
3. (SBU)  With a first place finish in Stavropol (although 
YR's strong showing in the region's single-mandate races 
ultimately allowed it to claim victory) and a second-place 
finish in five other regions, the Kremlin-sanctioned party 
For A Just Russia (SR) has positioned itself to be YR's chief 
rival in the December State Duma elections.  Helping SR get 
on the scoreboard just four months after being created were 
established membership lists (SR was fashioned from three, 
pre-existent parties -- Rodina, the Russian Party of 
Pensioners, and the Russian Party of Life), ready access to 
the media, prominent national and regional politicians, deep 
pockets, and limited access to administrative resources. 
4. (SBU)  In a post-election conversation, SR International 
Department Director Mikhail Demurin told us that votes for 
his newly-fledged party had come from former YR supporters 
and those opposed to YR's continued dominance.  Demurin 
agreed that SR had failed to accomplish part of its mission, 
which reportedly was to subtract votes from the Communist 
Party (KPRF). 
KPRF: Strategy Validated 
5. (SBU) The KPRF was buoyed by its higher-then-expected 
election results (reftel).  Mercator Group President Dmitriy 
Oreshkin agreed that KPRF's performance had been the one 
election surprise.  KPRF Deputy Chairman Ivan Melnikov 
asserted that the party on March 11 had increased its share 
of the vote from 10 - 15 percent to 15 - 20 percent.  KPRF's 
improvement in the polls has been variously traced to protest 
votes, the party's traditionally disciplined voters, and a 
degree of success in getting young people to the polls. 
KPRF's forceful protests of the initial results in Dagestan, 
where it was originally reported to have won 6.79 percent of 
the vote, led to a recount, which got it over the seven 
percent threshold and into the regional legislature, making 
it the only party to join YR in all fourteen legislatures. 
LDPR: Not "Too Bad" 
6.  (SBU)  LDPR Duma Deputy Aleksey Mitrofanov summarized the 
party's results as "not bad." (The party won representation 
in 11 regional legislatures, but polled somewhat more poorly 
than it had in earlier elections.)  Mitrofanov was pleased, 
MOSCOW 00001431  002.2 OF 003 
however, that LDPR had exceeded ten percent in most contests 
and nudged the 14 percent mark in others.  The one shock had 
been Moscow region, where LDPR polled 6.81 percent. 
Mitrofanov termed the tally "suspicious," since early returns 
had suggested LDPR would win eight percent. 
SPS: Not Quite a Contender 
7.  (SBU) The Union of Right Forces (SPS) narrowly failed to 
cross the seven percent threshold in three of the nine &#x
000A;regions in which it was registered and won representation in 
four.  Its mixed results on March 11 leave SPS's prospects 
for representation in the Duma after the December elections 
uncertain.  SPS insiders attribute the party's improved 
performance to its newfound emphasis on social issues. 
Others argue that the party success is traceable to an 
understanding with the Kremlin.  If so, the mysterious 
disappearance of votes in the Leningrad region re-count and 
the party's electoral problems in Moscow and Orel suggest 
that the nature of that understanding is not well understood 
by all. 
8. (SBU)  The March 11 results suggest the successful 
realization of the Kremlin's plan for a managed democracy, 
although it appears at this juncture to be five parties, not 
two, that are being managed.  Shaping the March 11 races were 
2006 changes to the electoral law that constrained political 
debate, eliminated minimal voter turnout requirements, and 
toughened party registration requirements.  Also critical to 
the outcome were the decisions of regional election 
commissions not to register parties for the elections, 
sometimes on somewhat flimsy grounds.  YR was forced to pay a 
price -- although the cost was modest -- of being the 
governing party.  SR's respectable finish should end some of 
the local squabbling that has accompanied its appearance, and 
turn it into a draw for local politicians and officials not 
admitted to YR's inner circle. 
Results by Region in Moscow Consular District 
9. (U) Percentages in the party list votes for regions in the 
Moscow Consular District are below: 
Dagestan Republic (fluid results): 
United Russia           63.67 
Just Russia             10.68 
Agrarian Party           9.12 
KPRF                     7.22 
Patriots of Russia       7.07 
LDPR                     0.81 
Komi Republic 
United Russia           36.18 
Just Russia             15.49 
KPRF                    14.26 
LDPR                    13.60 
SPS                      8.80 
Moscow Region 
United Russia           49.57 
KPRF                    18.61 
Just Russia              8.86 
SPS (contesting result)  6.90 
LDPR                     6.81 
Yabloko                  4.09 
Patriots of Russia       2.05 
Orel Region 
United Russia           39.02 
KPRF                    23.78 
Just Russia             12.60 
MOSCOW 00001431  003.2 OF 003 
LDPR                     7.34 
SPS (contesting result)  6.98 
Patriots of Russia       3.06 
People's Will            2.09 
Democratic Party         1.31 
   of Russia 
Samara Region 
United Russia           33.54 
KPRF                    18.98 
Just Russia             15.14 
LDPR                    11.59 
SPS                      8.11 
Green Party              7.62 
Patriots of Russia       1.38 
Stavropol Region 
Just Russia             37.64 
United Russia           23.87 
KPRF                    14.13 
LDPR                    11.80 
SPS                      7.73 
Tomsk Region 
United Russia           46.79 
KPRF                    13.37 
LDPR                    12.87 
Just Russia              7.90 
SPS                      7.78 
Patriots of Russia       3.75 
Yabloko                  3.65 
Unity                    1.06 


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