Who to be chosen in Caucasus on September 18?
The elections at the federal and regional levels will be held throughout Russia this Sunday. The federation will elect the new composition of the State Duma and the subjects will elect the heads and parliaments. In the North Caucasus this year's elections of the heads of the republics will be held in Chechnya, Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia, the legislative assemblies will be updated in Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya and the Stavropol region, as well as in Adygeya.
On the last day, when it is allowed to publish forecasts for these elections, Vestnik Kavkaza asked its experts about an expected course and possible outcome of elections in the Caucasus.
A researcher at the Institute of Applied Economic Research of RANEPA, Konstantin Kazenin, noticed in the first place that the turnout and results of this year's State Duma elections in the North Caucasian are unlikely to differ from the 2011 elections, noting that differences are rather being observed in the course of the election campaign.
"The thing is that in some republics those parties or candidates were removed from the elections who were actively fighting for the votes. I think this will affect the attitude of the society towards the elections," he pointed out.
"But if it continues in such a way that the political forces which do not agree on everything with the regional authorities will be removed in similar elective situations, it will provoke a pretty negative outlook on the future of the political situation in the North Caucasus," Kazenin stressed.
Speaking about the direct elections of the head of Chechnya, as well as the heads of Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia, the expert expressed confidence that the citizens of the Chechen Republic will vote for Ramzan Kadyrov, and current interim heads of republics Rashid Temrezov and Vyacheslav Bitarov will be elected in Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia.
The political scientist Andrei Yepifantsev, in turn, expects that the elections will be held peacefully and without any excesses. He also drew attention to the problem of the election campaign. "Basically, it is the removal or non-admission to the election of candidates who could pose a real threat to the pro-government candidates. If there is a candidate not controlled by the authorities, which could win in some painful topic, every effort was made to remove him. For example, the 'party of struggle against corruption' was removed in Dagestan," he said.
At the same time, the expert stressed that it is necessary to consider the political specifics of the North Caucasus. "In this situation it is important according to whose interests candidates are acting, not just a political platform. These are not purely political elections, this is a clan fight, wrapped in political slogans," Andrei Yepifantsev explained.
"It is important to note that there is almost no national agenda at these elections. Previously, it was present, but now a national issue is not being addressed. I see that people themselves and the issues which they are raising are far from the national platform, everything is focused either on the political platform, or on economic or on local problems. Therefore, in general the elections will be calm, but not crystal transparent," the expert concluded.
According to him, the elections to local Caucasian parliaments will reflect the political realities which are typical of the country as a whole. "Nothing will change fundamentally, there will be people controlled by the federal government, no matter to which party they belong to," Andrei Yepifantsev said.