Oct 12, 2021
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Will the Kremlin rely on teenage votes in the 2024 elections?

Will the Kremlin rely on teenage votes in the 2024 elections?

Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

The director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Politics (IIPRI) made a proposal to allow officially employed adolescents to vote in elections. Anton Orlov to the Speaker of the Federation Light Valentina Matvienko

In a letter sent to the chairman of the Federation Council, it is noted that, according to Russian law, adolescents have the right to conclude employment contracts, work and pay taxes from the age of 16. According to the head of IIPSP, this norm testifies to the real age of a person’s entry into adulthood, when young citizens are faced with issues of labor rights and tax policy. However, at the same time, the established age restrictions do not allow young workers to participate in the political life of the country by voting, recalls Orlov.

“I ask you to assess the feasibility of amending the federal electoral legislation in terms of endowing citizens between the ages of 16 and 18, who are already in labor, with active suffrage – the right to participate in elections as voters,” the message says.

I must say, this is not the first proposal to lower the age limit on the Russian – in February of this year, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky in the course of communication with journalists, he also offered to allow people from the age of 16 to cast their vote in elections. “Switzerland already wants to lower the voting age. We will come to this in 50 years, and this will be an achievement. Some ruling party will say: we gave young people the opportunity to vote at the age of 16. And now what – our youth is stupider than the Austrian, Swiss? But they will not vote for United Russia, so they will wait until there is no United Russia, then young people will have the right to vote, ”said the head of the Liberal Democrats.

– When I put forward my proposal, I was guided by what I see around, – explained Anton Orlov… – And we see that young people are growing up quickly today. Already at the age of 16, a person has his own views on life, has a holistic mindset and can make a political choice.

Our officials of the highest level speak of the need to increase confidence in the voting results. This can be done only by participating in the elections as many conscientious citizens with a holistic worldview as possible. From my point of view, the proposed measure will increase the number of voters and give them much more public confidence.

“SP”: – Not so long ago, Zhirinovsky put forward a similar proposal, to which the Central Election Commission replied that “this situation is typical for Latin American countries”, and “from the point of view of our Constitution, we have the full scope of citizen rights when he reaches 18 years of age. “.

– I still would not compare our country with Latin America. With us, from the age of 16, a person bears full administrative and criminal responsibility, can learn to drive in driving schools, receive due social benefits etc. And he cannot vote, this, in my opinion, is some kind of imbalance that needs to be eliminated.

“SP”: – Do you think that today the country’s leadership and society can agree with you?
– I am convinced that the water wears away the stone and we will come to this, we will agree with the changes that have taken place in the world and our society.

According to political scientist Konstantin KalachevDespite the logic present in the proposal to lower the age limit for participation in elections, there are also contradictions in it.

– If we turn to personal experience, it so happened that I became a father at the age of 17. And I remember my feelings: it seems that you can get married (as an exception, by the way) and become a father at the age of 17, but you don’t seem to participate in the elections. I must say that in Slovenia, Croatia, working 16-year-olds can also participate in elections, and Orlov’s proposal is focused on these countries.

However, no one asked Russian young people whether they wanted to get the right to vote, whether they needed to participate in the elections. After all, if teenagers rushed to polling stations, this would be reflected in their civic engagement. But we don’t see this, so I don’t think they have such a need. In any case, there should be some research done before taking such a step.

Political scientist Alexey Martynov notes the controversial nature of this proposal:

– This is a debatable issue, and it is positioned exactly as such. There are plenty of pros and cons. On the one hand, it seems that a passport is issued even before the age of 16, and making a choice is only at 18. And so you can go even further – if you can make a choice at 16, then why can’t you be elected? There are also voices against, stating that a person at this age has not yet fully formed as a person. I personally would support this initiative, because if you restrict the right to choose, then other civil rights should not be granted until this age.

Psychologist Alexey Bogachev indicates a twofold situation:

– Outside the current context, by itself, it could have a right to exist. In theory, young people in our time are quite active, they talk about many things, although this process is multidirectional.

“SP”: – That is?

– Teenagers often and lively discuss, say, the big bang theories or hypotheses about black holes, drawing this knowledge mainly from the Internet. That is, the transfer of experience and knowledge is not “vertical”, but “horizontal”. However, in the absence of experience and given the encouragement of the infantilization of society, many people at heart remain children under 25 years old.

“SP”: – If the process of growing up is slowed down, why are such ideas thrown in, in your opinion?

– Our government, or a significant part of it, turns everything into a circus, a show, including the electoral process. Avoiding seriousness towards a bright picture is encouraged. Many innovations are associated with this, including three-day voting, electronic voting, and more.

We saw what these “tricks” with electronic voting resulted in, when the machines “counted” votes for too long. And now, apparently, in order to divert attention from these arts, a bright idea is thrown in – let’s lower the age threshold for voting. Which, given the above-mentioned factor of infantilism, can only worsen the situation and further undermine confidence in the electoral system.

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