For nearly twenty years, Russian politics have been dominated by the overwhelming presence of President Vladimir Putin and the closely tied United Russia party. During this period, the Kremlin has also indirectly managed proxy political groups to simulate opposition and prevent dissenting voices from assuming political office. However, opposition parties have used local and, to a lesser extent, regional elections to challenge the Kremlin successfully. After the explosive protests that erupted over Moscow’s 2019 city elections, renewed attention is being focused on Russia’s broader municipal electoral trends.

Dr. Ella Paneyakh, Docent, National Research University Higher School of Economics; and Yulia Taranova, Director, Social Sciences Lab; Anastasia Burakova, Chair, Open Russia; and Dr. Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University, all join to discuss these notable trends in the Russian system and what they mean for broader political trends. Dylan Myles-Primakoff, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council Eurasia Center, joins as moderator for the event.

This event is part of the “Future of Russia” series, hosted by the Atlantic Council with the support of the Future of Russia Foundation (UK Charity). 

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Municipal elections in Russia: The opposition’s chance

In this paper, produced by the Dossier Center, a project developed and supported by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the authors provide interesting data from recent local elections. These data provide some indications of how Russian politics may evolve. For instance, the authors point out that with greater mobilization efforts, opposition candidates could defeat and replace as many as 3000 United Russia representatives.

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The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.