On Sunday, September 13, a large part of the Russian Federation will hold regional and local elections. On this so-called Single Voting Day, 18 regions will elect governors and 11 their regional legislative assemblies; four regions will hold by-elections to the State Duma while others will vote for local representative and governmental bodies. Among them is the city of Tomsk in Siberia where Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition activist, was poisoned during his pre-election campaign trip on August 20. Navalny is now being treated in a Berlin hospital. The German government just announced that he was poisoned by the military-grade chemical nerve agent Novichok.
Given their scope, these regional elections are seen as a major test for both the Kremlin and the opposition before the State Duma elections next year. They will take place at a delicate moment for the Kremlin, amidst continuing protests in Khabarovsk and growing discontent across the country over the mismanaged state response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as over the controversial constitutional reform, which allows President Putin to stay in power beyond his current term.
At this online event, we assessed the relevance of these elections for Putin’s system and the non-systemic opposition weakened by Navalny’s absence. We will also discuss the broader implications of this assassination attempt for the political climate and society in Russia, as well as its impact on German-Russian relations.
Vladimir Milov, Advisor to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
Liana Fix, Program Director, International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung
Alena Epifanova, Program Officer, Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, DGAP
Milan Nič, Head of Program, Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe,
Russia, and Central Asia, DGAP
Watch the recording: