Elections in Russia

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politics and government of

On the federal level, Russia elects a president as head of state and a legislature, one of the two chambers of the Federal Assembly. The president is elected for, at most, two consecutive six-year terms by the people (raised from four years from December 2008).[1] The Federal Assembly (Federalnoe Sobranie) has two chambers. The State Duma (Gosudarstvennaja Duma) has 450 members, elected for five-year terms (also four years up to December 2008), using a mixed electoral system. Half (225 deputies) are elected by proportional representation with a seven percent threshold. The other half are elected via single member districts.The Federation Council (Sovet Federatsii) is not directly elected; each of the 85 federal subjects of Russia sends 2 delegates to the Federal Council, for a total of 170 members.[2]

Since 1990, there have been six elections for the presidency and seven for parliament.

In the six presidential elections, only once, in 1996, has a second round been needed. There have been three presidents, with Boris Yeltsin elected in 1991 and 1996, Vladimir Putin in 2000, 2004 and 2012 (Yeltsin had already relinquished power to Putin in 1999) and Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. The Communist candidate (of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union or the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) has finished second in every case: Nikolai Ryzhkov in 1991, Gennady Zyuganov in 1996, 2000 and 2008 and 2012, and Nikolay Kharitonov in 2004. Only in 1996 has there been a third candidate who gained more than 10% of the votes in the first round, Alexander Lebed.

In the parliamentary elections, the Communist Party was the largest party in the 1995 and 1999 elections, with 35% and 24% of the votes respectively. The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has ranged from 5 to 15% of the votes, and Yabloko won 10% of the votes in 1995 and around 5% in the other three elections. The only other parties that have achieved more than 10% of the votes have been Democratic Choice of Russia with 16% in 1993, Our Home – Russia with 12% in 1995, and, in 1999, Unity with 23%, Fatherland – All Russia with 13% and People's Deputies Faction with 15%. United Russia, an alliance of Unity and Fatherland – All Russia, became the biggest party with 38% in 2003.

Federal elections


The President is elected in a two-round system every six years, with a two consecutive term limitation.[3] Prior to 2012, the term of office was four years. If no candidate wins by an absolute majority in the first round, a second election round is held between two candidates with the most votes.[3] The last presidential election was in 2012, and the next is expected in 2018.[4]


Ballot to the 2011 State Duma election with list of Political parties.

On May 2012 President Medvedev signed a new legislation exempting political parties from the need to collect signatures to run in parliamentary elections.[5]

Regional elections


Regional parliaments

Local (self-government) elections

The two main systems of local government include Mayor–council government in which voters cast their ballot for the mayor who represents the executive branch, and another ballot for the city council. The other system is Council–manager government with a city manager, who is nominated by and accountable to the City Duma.

Local mayoral elections

Local legislative elections

Criticism of recent elections

Since Vladimir Putin became President of Russia there has been increasing international criticism of the conduct of Russian elections. European institutions who observed the December 2007 legislative elections concluded that these were not fair elections. Göran Lennmarker, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that the elections "failed to meet many of the commitments and standards that we have. It was not a fair election."[6] Luc Van den Brande, who headed a delegation from the Council of Europe, referred to the "overwhelming influence of the president's office and the president on the campaign" and said there was "abuse of administrative resources" designed to influence the outcome. He also said there were "flaws in the secrecy of the vote." "Effectively, we can't say these were fair elections," he said at a news conference.[7]

In February 2008 The human rights organisation Amnesty International said that the presidential election on 2 March would not be a genuine election: "There is no real opposition ahead of the election. There is no real electoral campaign battle," Friederike Behr, Amnesty's Russia researcher, was quoted as saying. In a report on the elections, Amnesty said laws restricting non-government organizations, police breaking up demonstrations, and harassment from critics were all part of "a systematic destruction of civil liberties in Russia."[8] Another human rights organisation, Freedom House, said that the victory of Putin's party in the 2007 elections "was achieved under patently unfair and non-competitive conditions calling into doubt the result’s legitimacy."[9]

The Russian government has acted to prevent international observers monitoring Russian elections. In 2007 the OSCE was prevented from monitoring the legislative elections held in December.[10] In February 2008 the European Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights announced that it would not send observers to monitor the presidential election on 2 March, citing what it called "severe restrictions" imposed on its work by the Russian government. "We made every effort in good faith to deploy our mission, even under the conditions imposed by the Russian authorities", said Christian Strohal, the organization’s director. "The Russian Federation has created limitations that are not conducive to undertaking election observation".[11] The OSCE has also withdrawn its attempts to monitor the elections.

The 2011 Russian legislative elections were considered to be rigged in favor of the ruling party by a number of journalists and opposition representatives.[12] However public opinion-polls prior to the election suggested that the ruling party could count on the support of 45–55 percent of voters, which may suggest that there were no mass falsifications, despite isolated cases of fraud.[13] Nationwide exit polls were very close to the final results.[14]

In 2015 OSCE called the Russian government to respect and support the work of independent election observers, following a number of incidents where citizen observers were beaten or harassed in regional elections.[15]

Latest elections

e • d Summary of the 4 March 2012 Russian presidential election results
Candidates Nominating parties Votes %
Vladimir Putin United Russia 45,513,001 63.64
Gennady Zyuganov Communist Party 12,288,624 17.18
Mikhail Prokhorov self-nominated 5,680,558 7.94
Vladimir Zhirinovsky Liberal Democratic Party 4,448,959 6.22
Sergey Mironov A Just Russia 2,755,642 3.85
Valid votes 70,686,784 98.84
Invalid votes 833,191 1.16
Total votes 71,519,975 100.00
Registered voters/turnout 109,610,812 65.25
Source: Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation
Party PR Constituency Total result
Votes % ±pp Seats Votes % Seats Seats +/–
United Russia 28,527,828 54.20 Increase4.87 140 79.6 203 343 +105
Communist Party of the Russian Federation 7,019,752 13.34 Decrease5.85 35 2.7 7 42 –50
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 6,917,063 13.14 Increase1.46 34 2.0 5 39 –17
A Just Russia 3,275,053 6.22 Decrease7.01 16 2.7 7 23 –41
5% threshold
Communists of Russia 1,192,595 2.27 N/A 0 - 0 0 +0
Yabloko 1,051,335 1.99 Decrease1.44 0 - 0 0 +0
Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice 910,848 1.73 N/A[16] 0 No SMC +0
Rodina 792,226 1.51 N/A[17] 0 0.4 1 1 +1
Party of Growth 679,030 1.29 Increase0.69 0 - 0 +0
The Greens 399,429 0.76 N/A[18] 0 - 0 +0
People's Freedom Party 384,675 0.73 N/A[19] 0 - 0 +0
Patriots of Russia 310,015 0.59 Decrease0.38 0 - 0 +0
Civic Platform 115,433 0.22 N/A 0 0.4 1 1 +1
Civilian Power 73,971 0.14 N/A 0 - 0 +0
Independent No Party List 0.4 1 1 +1
Invalid/blank votes 982,596
Total 52,700,922 100 0.00 225 100 225 450 0
Registered voters/turnout 110,061,200 47.88 0.00 0 0.00
Source: CIKRF

See also


  1. "The Constitution of the Russian Federation". Garant Service. Retrieved 14 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Search". International Herald Tribune. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gueorguieva, Vassia; Simon, Rita James (2009). Voting and Elections the World Over. Global Perspectives on Social Issues Series. Lexington Books. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7391-3090-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Herszenhorn, David M. (5 March 2012). "Observers Detail Flaws in Russian Election". New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Medvedev Signs Off on Election, Party Signature Laws", RIA Novosti, May 2, 2012.
  6. (English) "Monitors denounce Russia election". BBC News. BBC. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. International Observers Say Russia's Parliamentary Election Not Fair, Fox News, 3 December 2007
  8. February, Reuters (26 February 2008). "No opposition or debate in Russia election: Amnesty". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Russian Elections Lack Legitimacy; Meaningful Political Competition Absent". Freedomhouse.org. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Election Observers Unwelcome, Spiegel Online, 16 November 2007
  11. European Group Cancels Mission to Observe Russian Election, Citing Restrictions , New York Times, 8 February 2008
  12. Schwirtz, Michael; David M. Herszenhorn (5 December 2011). "Voters Watch Polls in Russia, and Fraud Is What They See". New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Migranyan, Migranik (9 December 2011). "What the Recent Russian Elections Really Mean". National Interest. Retrieved 13 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Russia's Putin and party suffer election blow". Reuters. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Intimidation of observers at odds with OSCE commitments to ensure transparent elections, ODIHR Director says | OSCE". www.osce.org. Retrieved 2015-07-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice participated in the last election as part of A Just Russia https://rg.ru/2012/10/29/partii-site.html
  17. Rodina participated in the last election as part of A Just Russia https://rg.ru/2012/10/29/partii-site.html
  18. The Greens participated in the last election as part of A Just Russia "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2015. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. The party did not participate in the 2011 elections because its registration was revoked from 2007 until 2012

External links

Template:Opinion polling for Russian elections