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Russia. The Russian Elections and Hidden Regionalist Politics (Vadim Shtepa, The Jamestown Foundation)

Russians are scheduled to vote on September 19. They will be deciding electoral races not only to the State Duma (lower chamber of the national parliament) but also to 39 regional legislative assemblies, that is, in almost half of the federation’s subjects. In a genuine federation, regional elections might be considered the main event of this day. But in de facto centralized Russia, no real federative diversity can be expected from these contests, which is why voters do not attach much importance to their outcome. The regional parliaments in Russia are empowered to decide almost nothing—unlike the German Landtags or the legislatures of the American states. Russian regional parliaments usually have only 30–40 deputies, who lack the opportunity to pass any significant laws that differ from those in the other regions, since the legislative system in Russia is unified.

The Russian Elections and Hidden Regionalist Politics – Jamestown