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Oct 4, 2021
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Crimea, march: left, left!

Photo: campaign banner of the United Russia party on one of the streets of Simferopol, Crimea.  The elections to the State Duma of the eighth convocation were held on a single voting day on September 19, 2021.

Photo: campaign banner of the United Russia party on one of the streets of Simferopol, Crimea. The elections to the State Duma of the eighth convocation were held on a single voting day on September 19, 2021. (Photo: Sergey Malgavko / TASS)

The results of the Duma elections in Crimea raised the question of increasing popularity in the region before the left. While Crimeans, by inertia, give preference to United Russia (which received here a result higher than the “average for the hospital”), however, the dubious charms of oligarchic capitalism are gradually making them think.

We will remind that the Duma vote in Crimea brought “United Russia” 63.33%, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation – 9.15%, the Liberal Democratic Party – 7.75%, “Fair Russia – For the Truth” – 5.93%, “New People” – 3, 96%, “Party of Pensioners” – 2.33%, the rest earned less than one percent. It turns out that United Russia is winning, whatever one may say, quite confidently, despite the obvious bankruptcy of their policy. Why is this happening, is Crimea still not quite Russia?

The most obvious answer is that EP is still associated with Putin, who has the highest authority in the republic, his figure is associated with “returning to his native harbor.” In addition, the “locomotives” of the party in power were the head of the Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu – the leader of “polite people”, plus the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov – the defender of the inhabitants of the peninsula from the attacks of “Western partners” in the diplomatic field.
In addition, the Kremlin’s party gathered in Crimea under its banners most of the most popular characters here, including the heroes of the 2014 Russian Spring.

However, for United Russia, the Crimean picture is far from cloudless. Compared to the 2007 State Duma elections, the party received almost 10% more here (it was 72.66%). The single-mandate winners, despite the fact that they all represent United Russia, earned much more votes five years ago.

As for the communists, in the current election campaign they came out on top (last time this position was for the Liberal Democratic Party) and received more votes than in the 2016 campaign.

Sociologist, head of the Crimean branch of the Civil Society Development Fund Natalia Kiseleva reminds that “at the elections of the State Duma deputies in 2016 in the Crimea and Sevastopol, the effect of euphoria from the long-awaited return to the Motherland acted,” this affected the support of the ruling party.

– However, in 2021, the party ratings were influenced by other reasons. Crimea was fully integrated into the electoral space of the Russian Federation, therefore, the factors influencing the level of support for parties were generally all-Russian.

“SP”: – What was the attitude of the Crimeans to participate in the elections – compared to what it was five years ago?

– Electoral activity in Crimea has practically not changed. In the 2016 elections, the turnout in the Republic of Crimea was 49.1%, in 2021 – 49.7%. In Sevastopol, the level of electoral activity increased from 47.0% to 48.9%. The usual ratio of turnout in two neighboring regions has remained – in Sevastopol it is usually lower than in Crimea. But the turnout growth this time in Sevastopol turned out to be higher than in the republic, which can be explained not only by the three-day voting, but also by the possibility of remote voting.

“SP”: – How are the left forces perceived by the voters?

– The popularity of the left in Crimea has grown. For example, the electoral rating of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has increased more than one and a half times, “Fair Russia” – almost threefold. If we evaluate the inter-election activity of the regional branches of these parties, then it should be stated that the increase in the result occurred against the background of a general growth of protest sentiments. So we can say that there are leftists in Crimea, but they have no strength.

One of the leaders of the Union of Soviet Officers of Crimea, chairman of the organization’s Simferopol council, member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Anatoly Gorbunov notes that the communists are slowly but surely gaining popularity:

– Still, people began to pay more attention to real life, current shortcomings, to the development of industry, production, and this affects the fact that the number of voters for the ruling party is decreasing. For the time being, it still positions itself as Putin’s party, announcing this on election posters, but this does not help as much as it used to.

Among themselves, people, of course, express dissatisfaction with many, but not everyone dares to reflect their protest on the ballot. But over time, society will still have to solve real issues of improving life – the same ones posed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the only political force that has a real program to bring the country out of the impasse.

Sevastopol political scientist and blogger Boris Rozhin He sees the reasons for the success of United Russia in the fact that the federal funds invested in the city are quite well mastered and residents see the result:

– There are noticeable changes in road construction, landscaping of adjoining territories, and many other areas. Naturally, all this is associated with the “United Russia” and the governor Mikhail Razvozzhaev, who was the locomotive of the party during the last campaign – and his personal rating is higher than the EP, which was the reason for the high result.

“SP”: – What are the prospects for the Communist Party and other leftist forces?

– In the course of the last elections, the communists regained the status of the second political force in the region – previously the LDPR had this role. Moreover, two years ago they received representation in the Legislative Assembly of Sevastopol, which they could not achieve in 2014. Currently, they occupy a niche that the CPU had in the previous period. Of course, the current indicators of the Communist Party are far from being its limit; there is potential and the possibility of building up its influence.

“SP”: – What is the protest agenda in the city?

– First of all, the increase in the retirement age and the difficulties caused by the coronavirus epidemic. From purely urban problems – strange long-term construction, the lack of a master plan to this day. All this can and should be used by the Left Opposition.

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