Krasnoyarsk Krai Municipal Elections: Participation of Political Parties and Party Dynamics

K.O.Zhuribeda

Abstract

The paper describes municipal elections that took place in Krasnoyarsk Krai since early 1990s. Krasnoyarsk Krai was the first region in Russia to introduce a mixed electoral system in its municipal units. The elections addressed in the paper share the same geographical component (meaning they took place in nearly the same territories) and common parameters (the use of a mixed electoral system and the "None of the Above Party Lists" field that was used in every election except the one in 2010). The paper pays special attention to party registration process in elections in municipal units (towns and raions (districts)) as well as main trends in political party dynamics. Among other things, the paper provides insights into the state of the party system in the region and protest voting.


Krasnoyarsk Krai is one of Russia's largest regions, both economically and politically. Barely anything that happens in the region ever escapes the attention of federal authorities.

Such things as the krai's large territory (stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Sayan Mountains), social and economic differences between its districts, employment patterns, climate and political culture suggest that electoral campaigning in the region is as varied as the region itself.

We had several reasons in mind when choosing Krasnoyarsk Krai as the subject of electoral study. First, Krasnoyarsk Krai has strong democratic traditions. Electoral competition in the region is generally high, both in gubernatorial and parliamentary elections. Krasnoyarsk Krai always ranks among the most democratized regions, as reflected by the Carnegie Moscow Center rating in particular [14: 6, 30].

Second, Krasnoyarsk Krai is characterized by political pluralism. Most notably, five political parties (United Russia, LDPR, CPRF, A Just Russia and Patriots of Russia) are represented in the region's Legislative Assembly. The 1996 introduction of a mixed electoral system to the region's raions and towns took pluralism to the municipal level, making it easier for different political parties to secure representation.

Krasnoyarsk Krai was the only region in the country to use a mixed system in municipal elections before it was introduced nationwide in regional and later local elections in July 2003 (yet effective starting December 7, 2003). As we mentioned before, the mixed electoral system was first used in a municipal election in the region in 1996. At the time, 16 municipal units held elections under mixed electoral system. Some of them switched to plurality voting in 2000–2001.

Party lists that were most active in the 2000–2001 municipal election were nominated by CPRF, Chest i Rodina (Honor and Homeland) movement as well as many local alliances formed around local politicians (mayors, general managers, etc.) [6: 157–164].

Another election to local self-government representative bodies under the mixed system took place on April 17, 2005 (at the same time as the referendum on Evenk and Taymyr Autonomous Okrugs being merged into Krasnoyarsk Krai) in seven towns – Zelenogorsk, Zheleznogorsk, Yeniseisk, Achinsk, Kansk, Lesosibirsk, Sharypov – as well as in Bolsheuluisky Raion, one of the region's least densely populated districts. Parties that registered their lists in all of the towns included CPRF, LDPR, United Russia, as well as "Za Rodinu – Za Yediny Krai, Za Dostoinuyu Zhizn" (For the Homeland – For a United Krai, For a Better Life) – a bloc created by local offices of Narodnaya Volya (The Will of the People) and Yediny Krai (United Krai) parties. The bloc's lists were denied registration in Yeniseisk and Achinsk, yet secured the support of Sergei Glazyev, a State Duma deputy and candidate in the 2002 gubernatorial elections in Krasnoyarsk Krai. In the towns of Kansk, Sharypov and Achinsk, Eurasian Union party and Krasnoyarsk Youth Union movement created a bloc named S Veroi i Nadezhdoi (With Faith and Hope) in support of Anatoly Bykov. Bykov is one of the krai's famous politicians and businessmen, who came to prominence as the director of Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Plant in the 1990s and was a deputy at the Legislative Assembly of Krasnoyarsk Krai at the time. The tradition of creating local blocs was thus continued.

According to election results, United Russia held the top spot in all municipal units bodies except Achinsk (where S Veroi i Nadezhdoi bloc held the top spot) and Sharypovo (where Za Rodinu – Za Yediny Krai bloc held the top spot). Parties elected to all municipal units included CPRF (with support varying between 13.1% in Bolsheuluisky Raion and 21.2% in Yeniseisk) and Za Yediny Krai bloc (with support varying between 6.8% in Zelenogorsk and 24.6% in Sharypovo). LDPR failed to win seats in the towns of Zelenogorsk, Kansk and Sharypovo. Among other parties that won seats were Yabloko in Achinsk as well as Za Chestnuyu Vlast! (For Fair Authority!) bloc formed by Union of Right Forces and Yabloko parties. People's Party of the Russian Federation won seats in Zelenogorsk and Lesosibirsk. The share of the "None of the Above" vote was quite sizeable, varying between 12.1% in Bolsheuluisk Raion and 24.0% in the town of Yeniseisk (where only three lists were registered). At the same time, the territories where the number of registered party lists was the smallest indicated the largest number of "None of the Above" votes [6: 163—167].

In the summer of 2005, the law negating the creation of blocs was passed, making federal political parties the only participants in elections. 2006 saw the "None of the Above" vote repealed. The most notable election that took part between 2005 and 2009 was the deputy election to Nazarovo City Council that took place on October 8, 2006. Nazarovo is the hometown of Anatoly Bykov, who also has a long political history there since he was time and again elected to Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative Assembly as a Nazarovo constituency representative. In 2006, Bykov's supporters ran on Eurasian Union party list. Following the election, the list received 53.8% of votes. United Russia came in second with 17.55%, followed by CPRF with 11.6% and Russian Party of Pensioners with 5.4%. At the same time, Bykov's supporters in Nazarovo won all 10 single-member constituencies they ran in [7: 16]. Shortly after, in February 2007, Eurasian Union was dissolved for insufficient membership numbers [3; 7: 99—102].

The following towns switched to the mixed electoral system between 2005 and 2009: Minusinsk (election held on December 2, 2007), Zaozyorny (election held on March 2, 2008) and Krasnoturansky Raion (election held on October 11, 2009).

Municipal elections of March 14, 2020 introduced the mixed electoral system not only at the all-out urban level, but at the municipal level as well (including some rural settlements), despite the extremely low party involvement level in rural areas. On that day, elections were held in 37 municipal raions and 10 towns [8: 26].

Only 4 parliamentary party lists were registered in most towns and raions – those of United Russia, CPRF, LDPR and A Just Russia. Election commissions denied registration to LDPR lists in Boguchansky Raion, A Just Russia lists in the town of Yeniseisk, Yeniseisky and Kazachinsky Raions as well as CPRF lists in Achinsky, Beryozovsky and Nazarovsky Raions. Registration was denied to Yabloko party list in Zheleznogorsk, to The Right Cause in the towns of Sharypovo and Divnogorsk as well as in Achinsky Raion (the party also withdrew its list in Kansk), and to Patriots of Russia in Divnogorsk. As for non-parliamentary parties, the only ones that obtained registration were Patriots of Russia in Severo-Yeniseysky Raion and in the towns of Kansk and Sharypovo as well as The Right Cause in Bolshemurtinsky, Bolsheuluisky, Kazachinsky Raions and the towns of Lesosibirsk and Zheleznogorsk [8: 54].

As far as the overall election results went, United Russia secured the top spot in all territories (see Table 1). ZATOs (closed cities) and mid-sized towns (34.05% in Borodino, 34.7% in Zelenogorsk, 39.8% in Kansk, 46.2% in Achinsk) indicated the lowest level of support for United Russia, while in the raions located far from the capital city the level of support for the party was at its highest (68.2% in Boguchansky, 66.55% in Novosyolovsky, 68.5% in Sharypovsky, 75.2% in Nazarovsky). CPRF won seats in all town and raion councils. The party gained least support in agrarian raions (10.0% in Sharypovsky, 13.0% in Partizansky, 13.7% in Sukhobuzimsky), and most support in towns (21.5% in Kansk, 24.6% in Achinsk, 30.7% in Zelenogorsk) and individual rural raions (28.3% in Pirovsky, 25.2% in Kazachinsky). LDPR failed to win any seats in Sayansky Raion. Its level of support in other territories varied from 5.2% in Biryulyussky Raion and 7.0% in Idrinsky Raion to 19.4% in Achinsky Raion and 26.05% in Turukhansky Raion. A Just Russia failed to win seats in Uzhursky Raion. Its level of support in other territories varied from 5.2% in Kansky Raion and 6.1% in Sharypovsky Raion to 28.5% in Bolsheuluisky Raion and 30.3% in the town of Borodino. As for non-parliamentary parties, only Patriots of Russia won 5.1% of seats in Severo-Yeniseisky Raion [8: 161—162].

Table 1. Results of political parties in Krasnoyarsk Krai municipal elections of March 14, 2020 (%)
Municipal unit United Russia CPRF LDPR A Just Russia Patriots of Russia Pravoye Delo
Abansky Raion 60.29 27.06 - 7.90 - -
Achinsky Raion 57.69 - 19.44 16.85 - -
Achinsk 46.24 24.56 15.42 9.20 - -
Balakhtinsky Raion 47.17 21.27 16.84 9.54 - -
Beryozovsky Raion 65.99 - 13.68 13.26 - -
Birilyussky Raion 56.85 19.44 5.20 12.64 - -
Bogotolsky Raion 60.15 14.61 11.71 9.96 - -
Bogotol 48.61 21.87 6.49 17.58 - -
Boguchansky Raion 68.17 - - 24.38 - -
Bolshemurtinsky Raion 54.92 18.43 12.5 7.84 - 1.57
Bolsheuluisky Raion 44.98 10.03 10.81 28.54 - 2.03
Borodino 34.05 21.05 8.78 30.32 - -
Divnogorsk 48.06 21.80 9.54 15.46 - -
Yemelyanovsky Raion 56.90 18.35 7.89 11.36 - -
Yeniseisky Raion 61.77 22.62 9.78 - - -
Yeniseisk 65.38 20.37 8.99 - - -
Yermakovsky Raion 51.81 21.62 13.73 8.82 - -
Zheleznogorsk 46.57 16.28 12.17 12.42 4.93 3.12
Zelenogorsk 34.76 30.70 11.66 17.39 - -

The table is not fully displayed Show table

Data sourced from Krasnoyarsk Krai Election Commission: http://www.krasnoyarsk.izbirkom.ru/arkhiv-vyborov-i-referendumov/

We can thus see a long-term trend emerging from the 2010 elections, where United Russia and LDPR derive most of their support from rural areas, with the former being especially popular in remote areas, and CPRF and A Just Russia derive most of their support from small- and mid-sized towns.

Between 2011 and 2014, mixed electoral system spread to such towns as Norilsk (election held on March 4, 2012), Evenkiysky Raion (election held on March 13, 2011), Taimyrsky, Dolgano-Nenetsky and Uyarsky Raions (election held on September 8, 2013).

At the same time, ZATO Zelenogorsk completely switched from the mixed electoral system to a plurality voting system (election held on September 14, 2014). This event was a reaction to the town's opposition image (United Russia's lowest result in the 2010 municipal election, the party's weak performance in the 2011 legislative election, and Vladimir Putin's lowest result in Krasnoyarsk Krai in the 2012 presidential election). In the 2010 town council, United Russia had 16 seats, CPRF had 4, A Just Russia had 3 and LDPR had 1. The following scenario played out under a singularly plurality system in 2014: United Russia won 15 seats, CPRF won 2 seats, independent candidates won 3 seats. Although United Russia lost some seats, the overall number of seats in the council was reduced from 24 to 20, actually raising United Russia's share from 2/3 to 3/4.

A federal law passed in 2014 prescribed that the "None of the Above" vote would return to municipal elections in 2015. At the same time, however, regional legislators were granted the right not to use it in their elections. The issue was not addressed in the legislation of Krasnoyarsk Krai, but the federal law had a direct impact on the 2015 election, where the "Note of the Above" vote was used ubiquitously [9: 69—70]. Later, in 2019, the corresponding provision was introduced to regional legislation.

The September 2015 election campaign was held at an even broader scale than five years ago. It covered almost 70% of the region's territory (45 municipal units) and took place in Achinsky, Balakhtinsky, Beryozovsky, Birilyussky, Bogotolsky, Bolshemurtinsky, Bolsheuluisky, Yemelyanovsky, Yeniseisky, Yermakovsky, Idrinsky, Ilansky, Irbeisky, Kazachinsky, Karatuzsky, Kezhemsky, Kozulsky, Kuraginsky, Mansky, Minusinsky, Motyginsky, Nazarovsky, Nizhneingashsky, Novoselovsky, Pirovsky, Rybinsky, Sayansky, Severo-Yeniseisky, Sukhobuzimsky, Taseyevsky, Turukhansky, Uzhursky, Sharypovsky, Shushensky Raions as well as towns of Achinsk, Bogotol, Borodino, Divnogorsk, Yeniseisk, ZATO Zheleznogorsk, Kansk, Lesosibirsk, Sharypovo. In addition, the first mixed-system election to Sosnovoborsk Town Council took place on September 13, 2015.

An overall 9 parties were most active in the 2015 election campaign. Four parliamentary parties (United Russia, CPRF, A Just Russia and LDPR) registered their lists in all 45 municipal units. Patriots of Russia party was able to register its lists in 26 municipal units (7 towns and 19 raions). Communists of Russia registered its lists in 8 municipal units (2 towns and 6 raions), while Rodina registered 12 (in 4 towns and 8 raions). Yabloko was able to register its lists in 6 municipal units (3 towns and 3 raions). Party for Rebirth of Rural Areas registered its lists in 3 raions.

The following is the arithmetic mean of results received by parties in this election: 49.8% for United Russia, 13.6% for CPRF, 11.5% for LDPR, 6.7% for A Just Russia, 7.9% for Patriots of Russia, 3.9% for Communists of Russia, 5.8% for Rodina, 3.4% for Yabloko. Party for Rebirth of Rural Areas coming in second with a mean of 21.5% was a bit of a surprise since it only participated in three campaigns, yet it was winning the election to Uzhursky Raion Council with 42.8% that significantly increased the party's arithmetic mean (see Table 2).

Table 2. Results of major political parties in Krasnoyarsk Krai municipal elections of 2015 and 2020 (%)
Municipal unit United Russia CPRF LDPR A Just Russia Patriots of Russia NOTA
2015 2020 2015 2020 2015 2020 2015 2020 2015 2020 2015 2020
Achinsky Raion 34.36 33.28 11.38 13.05 11.56 23.23 10.22 8.19 19.14 6.83 7.76 11.59
Achinsk 38.74 27.87 9.77 15.31 6.64 24.01 13.60 13.44 13.25 3.68 8.76 11.14
Balakhtinsky Raion 64.83 64.18 12.87 12.32 7.86 9.16 2.45 - 5.79 3.28 4.55 6.91
Beryozovsky Raion 34.19 28-Jan 8.79 7.43 20.01 31.96 2.96 14.77 18.99 1.88 4.55 6.65
Birilyussky Raion 55.72 48.64 14.31 17.49 6.87 17.65 11.47 6.40 - - 4.87 7.95
Bogotolsky Raion 54.58 54.96 9.46 13.39 6.84 15.07 12.18 4.20 5.49 3.89 8.73 7.19
Bogotol 48.54 34.03 7.85 21.49 6.22 10.41 5.56 5.12 24.62 18.25 5.30 8.57
Boguchansky Raion 49.59 31.45 22.30 21.18 14.07 12.37 4.41 12.68 - - 6.77 15.29
Bolshemurtinsky Raion 50.00 39.71 16.71 14.98 10.10 22.57 7.77 6.05 - - 5.88 8.53
Bolsheuluisky Raion 52.86 31.91 9.65 9.05 10.66 16.30 11.77 18.88 7.59 - 4.39 8.10
Borodino 41.37 31.13 20.30 23.73 10.01 20.55 3.09 - 7.27 12.48 8.35 9.80
Divnogorsk 44.96 35.34 16.42 21.42 11.65 27.55 4.35 4.87 5.54 - 6.67 7.79
Yemelyanovsky Raion 45.90 34.04 14.09 13.99 6.12 28.74 2.42 3.74 19.35 3.27 7.16 9.53
Yeniseisky Raion 55.18 42.21 16.25 16.07 10.85 21.06 6.91 6.59 - - 7.99 11.81
Yeniseisk 43.27 33.74 18.20 16.41 18.39 29.50 8.73 6.32 - - 8.31 11.68
Yermakovsky Raion 62.50 38.03 11.43 23.56 8.86 24.45 3.41 - 1.95 - 5.03 10.18
Zheleznogorsk 42.54 26.66 16.02 20.44 16.93 25.88 6.34 7.80 - - 8.08 13.45
Idrinsky Raion 51.59 44.29 8.27 11.13 4.28 7.85 9.05 12.70 - 14.14 6.15 7.94

The table is not fully displayed Show table

Data sourced from Krasnoyarsk Krai Election Commission: http://www.krasnoyarsk.izbirkom.ru/arkhiv-vyborov-i-referendumov/

Following the election, United Russia and CPRF were the two parties that won seats in all 45 municipal units. LDPR won seats in 43 municipal units (losing in Idrinsky and Sharypovsky Raions); A Just Russia won seats in only 24 municipal units (losing in Sharypovsky, Nazarovsky, Yemelyanovsky, Balakhtinsky, Severo-Yeniseisky, Beryozovsky, Pirovsky, Uzhursk, Yermakovsky, Rybinsky, Sukhobuzimsky, Kazachinsky, Karatuzsky, Kezhemsky, Kozulsky, Kuraginsky, Boguchansky and Irbeisky Raions as well as the towns of Borodino, Divnogorsk and Sosnovoborsk).

Supported by Anatoly Bykov, Patriots of Russia won seats in Achinsky, Balakhtinsky, Beryozovsky, Bogotolsky, Bolsheuluisky, Yemelyanovsky, Ilansky, Kozulsky, Motyginsky, Pirovsky Raion Councils as well as town councils of Achinsk, Bogotol, Borodino, Divnogorsk, Lesosibirsk, Sosnovoborsk and Sharypovo. Anatoly Bykov bet on Patriots of Russia as far back as 2013. In September 2013, Bykov-endorsed party won 14 out of 36 seats in Krasnoyarsk City Council of Deputies while United Russia only won 12. That said, Bykov himself was unable to run his candidacy for both legal and image reasons (all previous lists with Bykov's candidacy were removed from the election). However, he till took part in the election as an active campaigner. Supported by Bykov, Patriots of Russia candidate Ivan Serebryakov (leader of the party's faction in Krasnoyarsk City Council) came in third with 13.9% in the 2014 gubernatorial election in Krasnoyarsk Krai, gaining more than 25% in Krasnoyarsk and 23% in Nazarovo at that.

Rodina won seats in Bolshemurtinsky, Kezhemsky, Nizhneingashsky, Rybinsky and Turukhansky Raions as well as the towns of Kansk and Divnogorsk. Communists of Russia won seats in Kuraginsky, Minusinsky and Shushensky Raions as well as in the town of Kansk. Yabloko won seats in Zheleznogorsk and Sharypovo Town Councils. Party for Rebirth of Rural Areas won seats in Idrinsky, Minusinsky and Uzhursky Raions (coming in first in Uzhursky with 42.8%, as we pointed out before). The fact that Party for Rebirth of Rural Areas won in Uzhursky Raion can be attributed to the appointment of Boris Melnichenko as head of the party's regional office; Melnichenko was the director of ZAO Solgon – a major agricultural enterprise in Uzhursky Raion – as well as a deputy to Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative Assembly [9: 491, 493, 494].

As for the "None of the Above" (NOTA) vote, it was the choice of an average of 6.65% voters in the 2015 municipal elections. The largest number of such votes was registered in Nizhneingashsky, Uzhursky and Turukhansky Raions (over 10%). Just like in the 2005 elections, the level of NOTA voting remained high across towns: 9.02% in Kansk, 8.35% in Borodino, and between 8.08 and 8.31% in Yeniseisk, Lesosibirsk and Zheleznogorsk. The lowest amount of NOTA votes was registered in Kazachinsky and Sharypovsky Raions (below 3%).

Political scientist Nikolai Grishin believes that voting "None of the Above" is a voter's way of conveying the dissatisfaction of the population with the current political environment (lack of worthy candidates, their inability to tackle the problems facing the population). Voting NOTA may also indicate dissatisfaction of voters with the existing social conditions [5: 152—153]. Andrei Akhremenko and Yelena Meleshkina believe that NOTA voting is influenced by the level of election (it is typically higher in local and regional legislative elections), social status and population mobility [1]. Arkadii Lyubarev cites cancelled registration of popular candidates, frustration with the actions of the authorities, dissatisfaction with campaigning methods and lack of understanding in terms of whom to vote for as the driving forces of NOTA voting [11].

The municipal elections of September 13, 2020 were held in almost the same number of territories as five years ago with the exception of Mansky Raion, where the early election to raion council took place in November 2016. The list of the most active parties in the election on September 13, 2020 included almost all of the same parties as five years ago. The two parties that nominated and registered lists in all 44 territories in the region were United Russia and LDPR. CPRF ran in 38 territories: no nomination whatsoever in Minusinsky Raion while lists in Nazarovsky, Rybinsky, Sayansky and Sharypovsky Raions as well as the town of Sharypovo were withdrawn following court judgements on suits filed by LDPR [12; 15]. This is not the first time CPRF had to withdraw its lists following a court judgement. For example, in 2017, CPRF lists were taken off the election in Nazarovo for paperwork violations (following the suit filed by Communists of Russia) and in Norilsk following a similar suit filed by A Just Russia.

A Just Russia registered its lists in 30 territories: it did not nominate lists in Balakhtinsky, Yermakovsky, Kazachinsky Kuraginsky, Motyginsky, Sayansky, Pirovsky, Nazarovsky, Severo-Yeniseisky, Uzhursky Raions as well as the town of Borodino; the list in Kozulsky Raion was denied registration while the lists in Sharypovsky constituency and the town of Sharypovo were taken off the election following the suits filed by LDPR and Patriots of Russia [13]. Patriots of Russia registered its lists in 19 municipal units (5 towns and 14 raions). Communists of Russia registered its lists in 5 municipal units (1 town and 4 raions). Rodina registered its lists in 3 municipal units (1 town and 2 raions). Yabloko nd Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice registered two lists each.

The following is the arithmetic mean of results received by parties in this election: 41.7% for United Russia, 18.5% for LDPR, 16.8% for CPRF, 9.8% for A Just Russia, 7.1% for Patriots of Russia, 9.4% for Rodina, 5.5% for Communists of Russia. An average of 10.3% of voters voted "None of the Above".

As a result of the elections, three parties gained seats in all municipal units where they nominated their lists – United Russia, CPRF and LDPR. That said, LDPR came in first in Beryozovsky Raion with 32.0%. A Just Russia failed to win any seats in Bogotolsky, Yemelyanovsky, Ibreisky Raions as well as the towns of Divnogorsk and Sosnovoborsk. Patriots of Russia won seats in Achinsky, Idrinsky, Ilansky, Kozulsky Raions as well as the towns of Kansk and Sharypovo. Communists of Russia won seats in Kuraginsky, Minusinsky and Shushensky Raions. Rodina won seats in Bolshemurtinsky, Kezhemsky Raions and the town of Kansk. Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice won seats in Sukhobuzimsky Raion [10].

Taking into consideration political party dynamics between the two electoral cycles, it becomes clear that United Russia is in the negative. Between the two electoral cycles, the party's result significantly increased in as few as four raions: Uzhursky, Sayansky, Pirovsky and Turukhansky (between 2 and 18%); the results barely changed in Bogotolsky, Severo-Yeniseisky, Motyginsky, Nizhneingashsky and Novosyolovsky Raions The largest decrease (-24.5%) was registered in Yermakovsky Raion. The "party of power" lost more than 20% in Bolsheuluisky Raion and Sharypovo as well.

The reasons for the decrease of support for the "party of power" have both federal (pension reform endorsed by the party; COVID-19 economic recession; low level of social well-being, etc.) and regional specific. For example, the low results in certain eastern territories (Boguchansky and Kezhemsky Raions) are especially noticeable. The drastic decrease may be attributed to the following: although the industrial complex (comprised of the hydroelectric power station and wood-processing plants) in Boguchansky Raion was put into operation, the social issues in the area were not properly addressed. This trend first emerged in the 2016 legislative election, repeating itself in the 2018 presidential election as well as in the 2020 constitutional reform vote.

The results of CPRF increased in 23 territories, decreased in 13 and remained unchanged in 2. The largest increase was registered in the town of Bogotol as well as Yermakovsky and Irbeisky Raions. The largest decrease was registered in Sukhobuzimsky and Pirovsky Raions. The results of LDPR increased in all territories except Boguchansky, Kezhemsky and Irbeisky Raions. The largest increase was registered in the towns of Sosnovoborsk and Sharypovo as well as in Yemelyanovsky Raion. The increase may be attributed to the party gaining a general boost in popularity (following the active campaigning in the 2016 elections to Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative Assembly and the victory in the 2018 election to Krasnoyarsk City Council) as well as the fact that Vladimir Zhirinovsky himself headed party lists in all municipal elections. The largest increase (over 10%) in support for A Just Russia was registered in Rybinsky, Kezhemsky and Beryozovsky Raions, while the largest decrease was registered in Bogotolsky Raion and the town of Kansk. The support for Patriots of Russia increased only in Sharypovo and Ilansky Raion, decreasing in all other territories. For Communists of Russia, the result increased in Kuraginsky and Minusinsky Raions only while the results in other territories decreased. The results of Rodina increased in Kezhemsky Raion alone (see Table 2).

As for the NOTA voting, its share increased in all territories except Taseyevsky and Bogotolsky Raions as well as the towns of Kansk and Sosnovoborsk. The largest increase in NOTA voting was registered in Nazarovsky and Sayansky Raions (over 10%). NOTA voting may be considered as a sign of voter frustration with both existing living circumstances (growing social pessimism and decreased social well-being) and a lack of political choice. For example, protest voting could have been bolstered by a lack of choice, since only United Russia and LDPR registered their lists in the aforementioned Nazarovsky and Sayansky Raions (see Table 2).

We can thus make several deductions on municipal elections in Krasnoyarsk Krai.

1. There is a downward trend in participation of political parties in municipal elections. The main contributing factor in this case is the overall decrease in the number of parties between 2015 and 2020. While 74 parties were qualified to run in the elections in 2015, by June 2020 this number decreased to 41. A sizeable share of parties were dissolved by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for insufficient electoral participation within seven years following their registration. New parties that emerged in 2020 (Za Pravdu! (For Truth), Novye Lyudi (New People), Direct Democracy Party, Green Alternative) were mostly interested in taking part in regional parliamentary elections as the ticket to the legislative (State Duma) elections.

The increasing number of independent candidates in particular is a sign of declining trust in political parties among the population as well as the sign of party affiliation becoming less attractive for candidates themselves [2]. Moreover, such things as the lack of privileges in nominating lists, having to collect signatures and excessive registration paperwork discourage active participation of parties in the election as well as increase the risks of denial of registration.

In the case of Krasnoyarsk Krai, there are several reasons for decreased electoral participation.

The first reason is their decreased activity. For example, the presence of Patriots of Russia in the region has diminished significantly over the past few years. In 2016, the party's de facto leader Anatoly Bykov was barred from election to Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative Assembly on account of a prior criminal conviction. The party's performance in the election was rather weak as a result, standing at 6.7%. In 2018, the party was removed from the promising election to Krasnoyarsk City Council for violating the rules of forming the party list. Patriots of Russia candidate Ivan Serebryakov failed to pass the municipal filter in gubernatorial elections the same year. The 2020 arrest of Anatoly Bykov for suspected involvement in contract killings carried out in 1990s and 2000s landed a heavy blow to the party's reputation as well [4].

A Just Russia found itself in a similarly weak position following the 2016 legislative election. As we pointed out before, the party did not nominate any lists in 11 territories out of 44 (25%) in 2020.

The 2016 election to Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative assembly also landed a heavy blow to Party for Rebirth of Rural Areas with a result of 3.7%. Starting from 2017, the party that was relatively successful in the region in the past has stayed away from virtually every election. In 2020, the party was dissolved for insufficient electoral participation.

As of 2020, the parties that display most activity in the region only include United Russia and LDPR, which is also evident from the number of lists they nominate in elections.

The second reason is organizational and staff issues. Most parties with the exception of United Russia lack local representation, meaning they do not have enough candidates to nominate. If one takes a look inside the lists themselves it is clear that most parties (except for United Russia) have very few candidates on them. It is also impossible to ignore the financial issues. Most parties lack sufficient funding, especially at the local level.

Furthermore, some party lists (including those of parliamentary parties) were removed in the course of the 2020 campaign. As a result, those who did not want to vote for the "party of power" split their votes between the remaining parties and "None of the above" vote (the strategy of voting for "any other party"), which can be seen in Table 2 in particular.

2. Electoral dynamics of parties varies significantly between elections. The number of votes for United Russia decreases while opposition parties parties gain votes – an objective reaction to social and economic deterioration.

As for voting patterns, United Russia typically gets its best results in western and south-western territories (Bogotolsky, Nazarovsky, Sharypovsky Raions). There is also room for electoral dynamics, like in Severo-Yeniseisky Raion, where United Russia's result was low in 2010, but high in 2015 and 2020. On the other hand, the party scored high in Boguchansky and Kezhemsky Raions in 2010 and 2015, but low in 2020 (see Tables 1 and 2).

CPRF performs best in eastern territories of Krasnoyarsk Krai (Abansky, Irbeisky Raions) as well as in the south (Minusinsky, Shushensky, Yermakovsky Raions). There are examples of negative dynamics, like in Pirovsky Raion, where CPRF scored high in 2010 and 2015 (28.3% and 17.0% respectively), but low in 2020 (10.1%)

LDPR performs best in western (the town of Achinsk, Achinsky and Kozulsky Raions) and central (Beryozovsky, Yemelyanovsky Raions, the towns of Zheleznogorsk and Sosnovoborsk) territories. This was a recurring trend in 2010, 2015, and 2020 as well. Turukhansky Raion is an example of negative dynamics.

A Just Russia consistently performs well in Taseyevsky and Turukhansky Raions, the town of Achinsk, Achinsky and Bolsheuluisky Raions. The party's success in the last three territories is likely a consequence of the region's party leaders (Maksim Makert and the late Nikolai Trikman) being natives of the area.

3. The level of "None of the Above" voting in the regions remains high. There is no doubt that by voting NOTA voters express their dissatisfaction both with the political situation at their local level and with a lack of political choice.

Analyzing the data on NOTA votes starting from 2005 (with the exception of 2010) brings us to a conclusion that voting NOTA is generally more wide-spread in municipal units where the level of urbanization and education is typically higher, as well as in the territories with low electoral competition. The 2020 elections in particular showed that the largest amount of voting NOTA was detected in raions with as little as two registered party lists (Nazarovsky and Sayansky Raions) as well as in the town of Sharypovo (where three lists were registered).

Received 01.11.2020, revision received 06.11.2020.


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