Sep 23, 2021
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Elected “steam locomotives” of the “United Russia” party remained on their usual tracks


Photo: Alexander Demyanchuk / TASS

The announcement of the official results of the elections to the State Duma is expected on September 24, but voters will certainly not be able to see all the representatives of the top five of the United Russia party in the elected parliament.

Heads of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergei Shoigu and Sergey Lavrov, head physician of the hospital in Kommunarka Denis Protsenko, Head of the Talent and Success Foundation Elena Shmeleva do not plan to move to the legislature. The mandate can only be taken by the children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova, RBC reports, citing sources close to the Kremlin.

The final decision will most likely be announced after the meeting of the five with the president Vladimir Putin, which is scheduled for September 27. Earlier, the head of state will meet with the leaders of the parties that have entered the lower house of parliament.

According to the law, an elected deputy has the right to resign from his mandate within five days after receiving the notification of election.

Director General of the Institute of Regional Problems Dmitry Zhuravlev I’m not surprised that the development of events can follow this scenario, but believes that other scenarios are also possible:

– I would not be surprised if Protsenko also became a deputy: the Healthcare Committee would not have hindered him. Probably, as a practicing doctor, he did not go for it, he considered that it was better for him to be a doctor. But so far we have not officially heard this.

Regarding the fact that two ministers will not go to the Duma, then if someone assumed otherwise, this is very funny.

“SP”: – Why nominate people who are obviously not ready to go to the State Duma?

“These are symbolic people. They are very handy for this kind of business. Shoigu came, and everyone understood – the security of the state came, Lavrov came – and everyone understood that our cool foreign policy had come.

And in many respects it was the symbolism of Russian politics that determined the fact that United Russia received so many votes, not less.

“SP”: – But this is cheating voters?

– And no one promised that these people would go to the Duma. They were nominated.

Another question is why voters, public organizations and movements did not ask the question at the initial stage of the elections: “Are you going to the Duma?”

“SP”: – Is it so accepted in world practice that the “locomotives” of the election campaign eventually jump off?

– Most countries do not, because there are no “steam locomotives”. A “locomotive” is a person whose strength lies not in the elections, but somewhere else. And he uses this force for elections, and then leaves.

By definition, there can be no “steam locomotives” in parliamentary republics, because parliament is the pinnacle. In presidential elections, most often the “locomotive” is the president, about whom everyone understands that he will not go to any parliament, he simply expresses his support for his party with all his might.

“SP”: – So we are talking about an administrative resource?

– Rather, about administrative and propaganda. Administrative is (I am bringing it to the point of absurdity, but to make it clear) a policeman at the entrance to the station, who demands to present a document that you will vote for United Russia. Here the question is precisely in the presentation of the party.

Major popular figures in society who will not go to parliament are presented for the party.

“SP”: – Why do different information resources and experts name Kuznetsova, and not, for example, Shmeleva?

– I do not know. As part of the second three of the first five, all three could go to parliament. If I were Kuznetsova, I would not go, because she is a plenipotentiary representative – she is a rather influential person, she is engaged in serious business. It is not a fact that as chairman of a committee or deputy chairman of parliament, she will have the same capabilities for solving specific problems.

No one had any doubts that the first pair would not go.

Petersburg political scientist Yuri Svetov noticed that Russian President Vladimir Putin likes unpredictable moves.

– We have repeatedly encountered situations when analysts, experts predict one solution, but it turns out to be another. Who after resignation Dmitry Medvedev predicted that the prime minister would Mikhail Mishustin? In my opinion, no one, but he did. So it is here. Let’s wait on the 27th: maybe one of these five will go to the Duma, or maybe all five will remain in their posts and give their mandates to the next on the list.

“SP”: – Is it fair in relation to the voters?

– When the practice of people at the head of party lists, called in common parlance “steam locomotives”, appeared, the question arose: how moral or immoral it is that voters vote for them, and then they transfer mandates to others. The law does not prohibit this, so it is possible to do it.

I would draw your attention to the fact that this practice of United Russia was intercepted by other political parties. I will cite the example of St. Petersburg, where a well-known Yabloko representative, Boris Vishnevsky ran for the State Duma and the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg. He was three times a candidate in a single-mandate constituency from Yabloko to these bodies. The question arose: which of the mandates would he take?

There are similar examples for other parties. For example, the results of voting in St. Petersburg have already been published, and Elena Drapeko won the elections to the State Duma and at the same time it is in the top three “Fair Russia” (in the elections to the Legislative Assembly of the city – Ed.) and passes on its mandate to the next on this list. Vladimir Zhirinovsky in all regions he heads his party lists, then resigns from the mandate.

This practice is widely included in the political system of our country. I have a negative attitude towards this. I believe that if someone goes to the polls, proposes his candidacy, then take a mandate and work. But the law does not prohibit it.

This is especially sad in the regional elections. I am opposed to regional parliaments and especially municipalities being elected on a party basis. For example, in St. Petersburg, the division – 25 party members and 25 single-mandates – led to the fact that the ties between the voter and the deputy were severed: people do not understand who represents their territory in the city parliament.

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