The Dynamics of Sub-National Authoritarianism: Russia in Comparative Perspective
This chapter examines the three rounds of regional and municipal elections which have been conducted to date, since Dmitrii Medvedev was inaugurated as President of the Russian Federation in May 2008. It assesses the democratic integrity of Russian elections and the degree to which they can be considered to have been free and fair. Russia is now best classified, following Ottaway and Schedler, as a semi-authoritarian regime. Electoral authoritarianism is the dominant force in Russias regions. Russian regional elections are far from free and fair. The manipulation and falsification of elections is now common practice throughout the Russian Federation. Entry into the electoral arena and the rules of the game governing elections are controlled by regional and municipal administrations. As GOLOS reports, of the seven parties which competed in the October 2009 round of elections only the four parties with seats in the State Duma were able to compete in all three regional assembly elections.