Mikhail Remizov: "The quality of the State Duma has increased"
The main outcome of the elections to the State Duma of the seventh convocation: the 'United Russia' party won the majority of parliamentary seats thanks to the 54% of the vote by party lists and 203 victories in single-member constituencies, securing a record number of 343 seats. Second and third places were virtually divided between the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party (the Communists lost 8 seats, the Liberal Democrats gained 17 seats), the presence of the party 'A Fair Russia' in the State Duma has been almost halved, the 'Rodina' party and the 'Civic Platform' party received one seat each thanks to single-mandate deputies. The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, commented on the results of the elections in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- In your assessment, what have the elections by federal lists demonstrated?
- As part of the party preferences of the population, they have demonstrated a situation of hopelessness in terms of the party list of key players and leaders. People voting for the Liberal Democratic Party, the Communist Party and ' A Fair Russia' is not due to the high level of support for these parties and their leaders, but generally due to a lack of a more or less weighty systemic opposition. The high support for 'United Russia' also has less to do with the assessment of the party's actions, but with the fact that the party 'leaned' against the president's rating in the last period of the election campaign, and the president supported the party directly – although previously there was a concept, according to which 'United Russia' must rely primarily on its own reputational resources.
- What was the difference between the elections by party lists and elections in single-mandate constituencies?
- At the low level we have seen an increase in the work of, first of all, the 'United Russia' representatives. Many single-mandate deputies held strong and active campaign meetings with voters – and an improvement of the feedback system, communication with voters is really evident. There is a tie at the level of 'a single-mandate deputy – a voter' today, in contrast to the level of party brands, the structure of which, by and large, no longer corresponds to the state of society.
- What problems in the party system became evident during the elections?
- For example, a party like the Liberal Democratic Party does not represent any ideology today, and even the personal artistry of Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a finite resource associated with his biological features as a man who, as we know, has limits. If we talk about the Communist Party, the prevention of any leaders within his own party who could be an alternative to him, not competition with other parties, has been a priority of Gennady Zyuganov for a long time. This programs the Communist Party's strategy and deprives it of its potential as a truly powerful and fulfilling alternative, not just an opposition. A Fair Russia has no own stable electorate – both in the campaign of 2011 and in the campaign of 2007 it was more a party of situational voting or a party of second choice. Its political image is very amorphous and uncertain. In my opinion, the current party-political spectrum doesn't ideologically reflect the rather complex state of modern society, even its diverse majority, connected with the Crimean consensus. And this will systematically create distrust of the existing party-political model.
- In your opinion, why have the non-parliamentary parties failed to achieve popularity and enter into the new Duma composition since 2011?
- We have not seen good and strong leadership teams there. There was no coherent, consistent ideological work throughout the period between the elections. In general, there are a lot of reasons, but the most important, perhaps, is the lack of leaders adequate for the current objectives. Lack of leadership in both quantitative and qualitative lists also caused the failure of the non-parliamentary opposition in these elections.
- In general, what is the Duma's composition following these elections?
- We got a Duma with a 'United Russia' constitutional majority. It should be noted that this majority is of a higher quality than the one that existed in 2007, because it is formed by a significant number of single-mandate deputies, people who are more attached to their constituents and will cherish their political reputation to a greater extent. For the authorities, they will be younger, but still political partners, not just soldiers who take the salute for any reason. Single-mandate deputies are the political class, which will be able to mediate between the government and the voters. In this sense, there is an increase in the State Duma's quality. There is no qualitative growth in party alignment: the same systemic opposition, the same leaders, but older and more tired, which does not inspire any hopes for the development of alternatives, therefore the opposition representation in this Duma will be weaker than the previous one.