Parliamentary Elections and Mobilizing Opposition in Russia

By Anastasiia Andreeva Oct. 25, 2021 Weekly Graphs

In Russia’s national elections on September 19th  the ruling United Russia (YeR) won the majority of seats in the lower chamber amidst reports of fraud. Yet, the leading Russian opposition (the Communist Party (KPRF) clinched 19% of ballots after the introduction of the Smart Voting system by the influential opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny also organized the biggest protests in Russia in the last decade, and his imprisonment spiked additional massive protests. Today’s Graph of the Week shows the dynamics of opposition mobilization in Russia and the government’s response to it. 

V-Dem’s mobilization for democracy indicator tracks several spikes in pro-democratic mobilization since 2012. In response, political repression has increased as captured by worsening scores on the civil society organization repression indicator, meaning that the government is increasing the harassment of opposition organizations and activists. The freedom from political killings indicator is also worsening, meaning that government killings of members of the opposition became more common. In short, Russia’s government is taking bolder steps to preserve its position in power.

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