Webinar: Municipal "Elections" In Russia - Loyalty Test Ahead Of Presidential Elections

07. September 2023online

Municipal elections are held in the Russian Federation on September 8-10, in which up to half of the Russian electorate may participate. The election of Moscow’s mayor as well as the increasingly rare election of governors will be an important loyalty test of the state apparatus ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March 2024. By organizing illegal elections in annexed regions of Ukraine, the Kremlin will demonstrate support for its puppets there. Electronic voting, which is being used on an increasing scale, is expected to further prevent independent monitoring. To cover up election rigging, the Russian authorities invited some 50 Western „election experts“ to legitimize elections in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Citizen observers note growing pressure from local authorities on independent candidates and opposition figures who either resign or cannot run due to restrictive regulations. Independent media and civic organizations have mostly been shuttered or forced abroad, while those remaining endure systematic repression. The respected Golos Movement, monitoring elections for over 20 years, faces renewed persecution, with its co-founder, Grigory Melkonyants, arrested on fabricated charges just three weeks before elections.

What are the main conclusions from observing the election campaign in the regions? Is there still a place for independent candidates in Russian elections? What common trends for the upcoming presidential election can be deduced from the current campaign?


Ms Viola von Cramon, MEP (host)

Anton Shekhovtsov – Director of the Centre for Democratic Integrity

Dr. Margarita Zavadskaya, Senior Research Fellow, Finish Institute of International Affairs

Date: 12 September, 17.00 – 18.00 CET