May 26, 2021, 2:50 p.m.
Dear colleagues and friends,
The fifth (first in 2021) issue of our journal includes six papers and a virtual roundtable discussion.
This time, the opening act is a paper by Sergei Shpagin, where he analyzes results of non-parliamentary parties in regional elections and makes an assessment of their electoral prospects on the eve of the State Duma election.
Yurii Korgunyuk’s paper continues his series dedicated to the study of electoral cleavages in Russian elections. This time the paper covers structural erosion trends in cleavages.
Vladimir Mikhailov’s paper is an attempt to reassess the scale of electoral fraud at the 1996 Russian presidential election. The author concludes that both main competitors benefitted from electoral fraud.
In his paper, Arkadii Lyubarev proposes modifications of a mixed compensatory electoral system and assesses possible outcomes of their application using the 2018 Smolensk Oblast Duma election as a model.
This issue’s Discussion section includes two papers dedicated to the recent US presidential election. One of the most discussed questions concerning this particular election was whether its results were rigged, so the papers represent two different views. The paper by Sergei Zhavoronkov, Aleksei Kasyan and Moshe Yanovskiy describes the legal and political factors that may have facilitated electoral fraud. Aleksandr Kireyev’s paper, on the other hand, uses statistical and geographic analysis to prove that no electoral fraud was committed in this election. However, one cannot say the views presented in both papers are polar opposites: Zhavoronkov et al. do not provide any substantial evidence of fraud, and Kireyev does not deny organizational issues of elections in the US. Nevertheless, both papers have methodological and practical value. It is particularly important to understand that the rules of conducting election that create room for electoral fraud undermine the credibility of election results for one thing. Another important point is that even if these rules did not trigger any electoral fraud in a given campaign, they may still trigger it next time, or in another country that decides to copy the rules.
The same issue is covered in another discussion material. The previous issue saw the first attempt at a virtual roundtable discussion – a format that continues in this issue as well. This time the discussion was built around conducting elections in the pandemic, including possible restrictions that are required in such context. Our editors came up with five questions and sent them to nine experts in political, social and legal science (including practicing experts like two members of regional election commissions and one ex-chair of such commission).
I hope the new issue will further secure the journal’s status in academic circles and the array of topics and authors will continue to expand.
Arkadii E. Lyubarev