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The parties earned more from the presidential elections than they spent

The presidential elections turned out to be a very profitable business for their party participants: according to the results of the campaign, the three parties that nominated their candidates will receive more from the budget than they spent, Kommersant calculated. At the same time, Vladislav Davankov (“New People”) cost the most one vote, while self-nominated candidate Vladimir Putin spent the money more efficiently than others. However, participation in elections allowed party members to increase not only financial, but also political capital, the expert notes.

“Kommersant” calculated how much it cost the participants of the presidential campaign for each vote they received. This is not yet final data (candidates must submit final financial reports within a month), but they are already close to that: the latest report from the Central Election Commission (CEC) on the movement of funds in candidates’ election accounts is dated March 12 (voting, we recall, took place from 15 to 17 Martha).

The most expensive vote was for the New People candidate Vladislav Davankov, who spent more on the elections than other participants in the race. According to the Central Election Commission, 368.2 million rubles were spent from its election fund. In terms of 3,362,484 votes collected, the support of each voter cost him 110 rubles. At the same time, at least 136 million rubles. Mr. Davankov spent on campaigning on television and radio – the largest payments are made under this expense item (up to 37 million rubles).

In second place is LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky, who spent almost 212 million rubles from his election fund. He spent most of his money on printed campaign materials, and practically ignored television advertising. A voter’s vote cost Mr. Slutsky an average of 76 rubles. Communist Party candidate Nikolai Kharitonov turned out to be the most economical participant in the campaign, spending only 166 million rubles on it, and the price of one vote for him was 44 rubles. The communist also relied on print propaganda, and spent only 12 million rubles on advertising through television and radio broadcasting organizations. But Vladimir Putin did not skimp on pre-election broadcasting, spending 161 million rubles on television and radio advertising—that’s half of all the money he spent (317 million). But one voter’s vote cost him less than everyone else – only 4 rubles.

First Deputy Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Yuri Afonin draws attention to the fact that Nikolai Kharitonov’s expenses turned out to be the smallest among all the candidates, that is, the Communist Party, “if we do not take into account the result of the president,” turned out to be “the most effective” in terms of costs per vote. According to Mr. Afonin, the communists published over 26 million copies of printed propaganda materials (including those with regional specifics proposed by cells in the constituent entities), made “good videos,” “made the most of debates” with the participation of the candidate and proxies, and also successfully managed the budget for outdoor street advertising. “We did not have the same opportunities as Slutsky or Davankov, but we managed to choose places for placement quite effectively,” notes the first deputy chairman of the Central Committee. In his assessment, a notable trump card of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was its extensive local infrastructure, which made it possible to successfully solve the problems of both campaigning and election control: “Our activists worked conscientiously, and the field events were bright and numerous.”

“New people” also believe that they spent their money effectively. “We spent relatively little on the campaign: new approaches do not require as much as classic campaigning,” a party representative explained to Kommersant. The key channel of communication with voters for the “New People” has become the Internet – in particular, local communities on social networks, Telegram channels, banner advertising and memes, Kommersant’s interlocutor emphasized: “Based on the result, we see that we managed to attract a lot of young people to the polling stations, who I haven’t gone to the polls before. Traditional propaganda doesn’t reach them: they don’t read leaflets, and they don’t look at billboards on the streets.” “New people” also used traditional forms (newspapers, billboards near highways, etc.), but “mainly in the regions, since one of the goals was to increase recognition and support for the party,” the party member added: “But in general, the volume of classical propaganda could may be less: the age audience is generally stable in its political preferences. The main result, as we see, came from new approaches.”

The press service of the LDPR told Kommersant that all expenses in the party are considered “effective, balanced and clearly aimed at the tasks that stood within the framework of the campaign.” The LDPR “has relied on direct communication with people,” one of the important forms of which was the all-Russian survey “Tell Slutsky the truth,” which, according to the Liberal Democrats, gathered over 1 million participants. In addition, Leonid Slutsky personally visited 17 regions and used the “classic LDPR campaign set” (newsletters, newspapers, brochures, paraphernalia and banners). “An important aspect was the work on the Internet, where all established campaign technologies were used,” the press service added.

It is noteworthy that in the end, all parties that directly participated in the campaign will receive more from the federal budget than they spent, because according to the law, a party that nominated a candidate who received more than 3% of the votes in the presidential election receives a one-time payment from the budget at the rate of 152 rubles. for every vote her nominee received. Vladimir Putin ran in the elections as a self-nominated candidate, so in his case there was no one to claim budget funds. At the same time, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation earned 573 million rubles from the presidential campaign, New People – 511 million, and the Liberal Democratic Party – 425 million, and in all cases this is noticeably more than their candidates spent.

However, during the past campaign, the parties increased not only financial, but also political capital, political scientist Konstantin Kalachev points out: they resolved personnel issues, practiced political technology techniques, increased their apparatus weight and updated social networks. Thus, LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky received a reason and opportunity to travel around the regions and get acquainted with local party activists, which is very useful for the new leader who is cleaning the ranks and rebooting the party. In addition, during the campaign, Mr. Slutsky worked primarily on a local agenda, and this helped him find a new niche: the LDPR has a good chance of becoming a “party of regions,” the expert believes. From the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, together with Nikolai Kharitonov, Yuri Afonin traveled a lot to the regions, and this, apparently, is part of the process of preparing for the transfer of power in the party, Mr. Kalachev suggests. Well, “New People” will clearly receive a return in the future in terms of attracting investors and prominent people. In the end, the audience of Vladislav Davankov’s Telegram channel grew two and a half times during the campaign, the political scientist summarizes.

Anastasia Kornya, Grigory Leiba

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