4-Dec-11 World View — Russia Elects a New Duma Amid Harsh Ultranationalism

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

* Russia elects a new Duma on Sunday

* Putin may experience a setback

* Ultranationalism and xenophobia grow as Russia’s election arrives

* Medvedev warns against too much nationalism

* Political parties vying for votes in Sunday’s election

* Egypt’s ruling army council ‘worries’ about Islamist election win

* Arab League freezes assets of Syrian officials

Russia elects a new Duma on Sunday


President Dmitry Medvedev on tv telling Russians that voting is a 'moral imperative' (RT)
President Dmitry Medvedev on tv telling Russians that voting is a ‘moral imperative’ (RT)

Prime minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is expected to win the most seats in Russia’s parliamentary elections being held on Sunday, giving a boost to his chances to regain the Presidency next year. Over 3,000 candidates from 7 registered parties are battling for the 450 seats in the Duma, the lower house. There are 110 million eligible voters, including 108 million living inside the country. Voting has already begun at midnight local time. Exit poll results will be announced at 9 pm Moscow time (noon ET), with official results announced in several days. Russia Today

Putin may experience a setback

Although Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is expected to win, he may suffer a setback nonetheless. Polls show that United Russia may win about 53% of the vote, but that’s down sharply from 64% in 2007. As we’ve reported recently, Russia was shocked when Putin received boos and catcalls during a live nationwide TV telecast during a judo championship. According to one analyst, “Dissatisfaction with the level of wages and a distrust of power as venal and detached from people are directly affect United Russia’s approval rating.” Bloomberg

Ultranationalism and xenophobia grow as Russia’s election arrives


Masked 'Russian March' protesters in Moscow last month
Masked ‘Russian March’ protesters in Moscow last month

Several political parties, including United Russia, have been emphasizing patriotism during their campaigns, something that’s not unusual during a generational crisis era. But in Russia, patriotism brought together over 7,000 ultranationalists last month for the “Russian March,” protesting what they perceive as an “occupation” of their country by immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus. They chanted obscene slogans, starting with “Say ‘No’ to the Islamization of Russia!” and “Get rid of the party of crooks and thieves!” and “Stop feeding the Caucasus!” They threw Nazi salutes and conveyed their disgust for the 1.5 million Muslim immigrants they blame for taking their jobs and snatching away their government. Many appeared to be the same breed of working-class soccer hooligans that precipitated the mass ethnic riots in Moscow last December. Like America’s “Occupy Wall Street,” they seem to have little focus except to express discontent. Russia Profile

Medvedev warns against too much nationalism

An opinion poll of Russians shows that 60% say the support the slogan “Russia for the Russians,” while race-hate attacks remain high in big cities. Nationalism remains a potentially explosive sideline issue in Sunday’s election, though only one party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), is expressing nationalistic sentiments openly. One party official says, “We don’t hide behind the screen of tolerance. We are the only party to have defended – for the last 22 years – the interests of ethnic Russians. We call on everyone to stop humiliating the Russian people.” However, President Dmitry Medvedev has asked political parties to “avoid” the topic of nationalism in campaigning. He said that the “Stop Feeding the Caucasus!” campaign was reminiscent of Soviet-era complaints from ethnic Russians that Moscow was too generous towards then-socialist republics in Central Asia, Ukraine and the Baltic region. “And the end result was that the Soviet Union collapsed,” Medvedev warned. Ria Novosti

Political parties vying for votes in Sunday’s election

The following is a list of the seven political parties participating in Sunday’s Duma vote, in the order they appear on the ballot, along with a brief description of the the potential voters that the party expects to appeal to:

  1. A JUST RUSSIA: A middle-aged or near-elderly person, a public sector employee nostalgic for the Soviet era’s free health care services and education. Expects the government to strengthen the social policy.
  2. LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA (LDPR]: A young person who has secondary education and nationalist views or other protest motives.
  3. PATRIOTS OF RUSSIA: A person who has patriotic beliefs, a supporter of strong government authority but not adhering to radical views.
  4. COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION {KPRF): An elderly or near-elderly man who expects the government to strengthen the social policy. The party potential voters may include those of other social groups and different views but choosing the party as a protest vote.
  5. YABLOKO: A middle-aged or near-elderly resident who has higher education, supports liberal ideas and is able to maintain his rights against violations in the public utility sector both through a public self-organization body and street activities.
  6. UNITED RUSSIA: A pensioner, a middle-aged woman, a young man aged under 25, all not showing an overly avid interest in politics and satisfied with their lives.
  7. RIGHT CAUSE: A city resident who has a higher education, earns a relatively high income and supports liberal ideas. The party potential voters may include those of other social groups and different views but choosing the party as a protest vote.

Ria Novosti

Egypt’s ruling army council ‘worries’ about Islamist election win

The big win for Islamists in last week’s first round of Egyptian legislative elections has caused “worry and discomfort” inside the ruling military council, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). According to an unnamed source, “Even though the military has accepted the election results as a reflection of the voters’ will, an air of anxiety is present inside the military institution, especially that Islamists seem to have a bigger chance at winning in the second and third phases and in the run-off rounds.” The source underlined that regardless of the final election results, the military “will not give up two things: the position of the military in the new constitution, and [the preservation of] a civil state in Egypt,” adding that the military is not in a struggle with any particular political force and that the military council will “deal with the final results as they are.” Al-Ahram

Arab League freezes assets of Syrian officials

Violence sweeping across Syria killed 25 people on Saturday, most of them in a battle between regime troops and a growing force of army defectors who have joined the movement to oust Bashar al-Assad. Arab League ministers, meeting in Qatar on Saturday, agreed on a list of 19 Syrian officials, including cabinet ministers, intelligence chiefs and security officers, subject to a travel ban and having their assets frozen. AP

.