ANALYTICAL REPORT ON THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Parliamentary elections, 18 September 2016, Russian Federation
Administrative resources, being an integral part of the Russian electoral process, traditionally affect and even determine the course of election campaigns, setting them up for a predictable outcome. Regional and local authorities use their administrative capacity both to create advantages for certain political forces in the pre-election campaign and to exert pressure on disagreeable stakeholders or strong election competitors.
Post-campaign reports predictably showed an increase in the number of incidents of obstruction of legitimate campaigning. We registered cases of disruptive, if not criminal, obstruction of campaign activities and events related to the apparent abuse of power by local administrations, state (municipal) institutions, and private companies. The election campaign of 2016 showed that violations in election campaigning stem from the most diverse political forces and election participants. Among them are: lack of identification on campaign materials; improper placement of election campaign materials; procurement of campaign funding from sources other than election funds; placement of advertising in non-smoking areas; recruitment of children for campaigning activities; release of the so-called “black PR”; and others. These actions are not always associated with the use of administrative resources, which indicates widespread disregard for the rule of law in Russian society and a kind of “electoral nihilism” among vast numbers of election participants.
It’s not a secret that in Russia the role of the media increases dramatically in the midst of an election campaign, resulting in an increase in the number and significance of media-related violations. These include various forms of covert campaigning, which is often associated with the use of administrative resources, and publishing of election campaign materials with negative content.
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