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The Civil Society Development Foundation held a round table on the results of the presidential elections

The Civil Society Development Foundation (FORGO, one of the think tanks working with the Kremlin’s internal political bloc) held a round table on Tuesday about the results of the presidential election. Experts stated that support for Vladimir Putin in large cities has grown significantly, and admitted that they do not predict global personnel changes as a result of the campaign, although they expect the appearance of “new faces.” As for the president’s future course, according to analysts, during the past “psychotherapeutic campaign” Mr. Putin received the go-ahead to implement the “anti-shock scenario” and the course outlined in the message to parliament, but if “new challenges” arise, they will also have to be responded to .

The head of FoRGO, Konstantin Kostin, first of all recalled that in the 2024 elections, electronic and three-day voting were used for the first time, which affected both the turnout and the result of the winner, since these technologies made it possible to involve in the electoral procedures those who had not previously gone to the polls. In addition, based on the results of the campaign, we can talk about “a change in the political landscape,” the political scientist said, citing as an example the statistics of voting for Vladimir Putin in eight regions (Moscow, Moscow region, St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod regions, as well as Krasnoyarsk region), where his support grew steadily. So, if in the 2012 elections in Moscow the president received 46.95% (1.9 million votes), and in 2018 – 70.88% (3.2 million), then in 2024 – already 85.13% (4.5 million). Similar dynamics were observed in the other listed entities, where Mr. Putin received more than 80% of the votes in the 2024 elections. “A lot has been written about the fact that municipalities of the second level vote for power, and urbanized territories are less loyal… This time we see that large cities, regions in which the administrative capitals are cities with a population of one million, actively voted for the president… In this sense large regions are becoming the basis of political support for the president,” concluded Mr. Kostin.

The head of the scientific council of the Center for Political Current Affairs, Alexey Chesnakov, noted that for Vladimir Putin, these elections became “proof of support for the course chosen by (them.— “Kommersant”) earlier,” but at the same time he received a “mandate for the future.” True, the expert refrained from making predictions on the president’s further actions, mentioning only that he outlined his program in a message to parliament. Following the election results, Mr. Chesnakov expects new personnel appointments, but does not think that they will be global in nature: “On the night after the elections, the president made a reservation that, in his opinion, the government and its administration are working effectively. But new people will appear, there will be some kind of update. We will interpret which one as these people appear.”

Political scientist Alexander Asafov, in turn, highlighted the “psychotherapeutic nature” of the past campaign: “The population was asking not for a political show and fights at debates, but for an understanding of what will happen next. And, it seems to me, due to a number of elements, the campaign coped with this request.” As evidence, the expert referred to the decreased level of anxiety among the population, according to sociologists, and to the fact that the Public Headquarters for Monitoring Elections in Moscow, of which Mr. Asafov is the deputy chairman, received much fewer voter complaints this year than before, and they were more substantive in nature.

President of the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation Mikhail Vinogradov said that the current elections were held according to the 2004 scenario, when Vladimir Putin, who was elected for a second term, also did not have strong opponents. The 2024 candidates “did not look like fighters for the voter Vladimir Putin” and rather looked like politicians whose supporters were ready to give votes to Mr. Putin, although this, according to the political scientist, helps legitimize the elections. He also questioned whether the election results were creating a feeling of “overdose.” And he himself answered it, saying that if at first such conversations were held behind the scenes in the expert community, now decision-makers have rather established the opinion that the election results do not contrast with the views of the population: “The resulting picture is symmetrical to the fact that people think.” On the other hand, “social steam” is still accumulating in society, and the 2024 elections were not the reason for its release, Mr. Vinogradov believes.

“Kommersant” separately asked the round table participants whether the election results give Vladimir Putin a mandate to make any, even unpopular, decisions or whether he is still limited by some framework. Konstantin Kostin responded to this that the government achieved such a significant result due to the factors of the “new normal” and “delayed choice” – the latter refers to a situation where even critics of the government do not express their complaints while a special military operation is underway. But one of the integral characteristics of the stability of the system is the “absence of shock scenarios and upheavals,” the political scientist emphasized, that is, the government will have to respond to critical situations and new challenges, but in general will remain approximately within the framework outlined in the campaign. To Kommersant’s clarifying question about whether this means that we are talking about a mandate specifically for the “anti-shock scenario,” Mr. Kostin answered in the affirmative. “I don’t see the authorities in the mood for a shock scenario,” Alexey Chesnakov also confirmed, although he made the reservation that there are not yet enough signals from the authorities to clearly assume what will happen next.

Kommersant also asked whether some events and results of the campaign indicate a shortage of legal public political proposals for certain groups of the population, including opposition ones. Konstantin Kostin replied that to answer this question it is necessary to conduct additional research on the “non-Putin electorate” and the question of how many opponents and supporters of the SVO there are in it.

Andrey Vinokurov

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