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Guards open door for Russian President Vladimir Putin at Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow

Russia’s Duma elections: an important dress rehearsal

  • Conventional wisdom holds that Vladimir Putin plans to be president for life
  • Changes in security apparatus and personnel moves support this view
  • Alternatively, Mr. Putin could be setting up exit strategy for 2018-2024 term
  • Transition may be fronted by fresh faces such as Anton Vaino

On September 18, Russians go to the polls to elect a new popular assembly, the State Duma. The outcome is a foregone conclusion. United Russia, the Kremlin’s “party of power,” is going to win. Other parties that will retain their seats are the Communists and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s absurdly named Liberal Democrats. Perhaps even the third member of the so-called systemic opposition – the pseudo-liberal Just Russia Party – may barely clear the 5 percent threshold. None of the real opposition will get in.

It is tempting to view the whole exercise as political theater. But that would miss the point. United Russia’s success is crucial to ensuring that Vladimir Putin wins the next presidential election, currently scheduled for March 2018. That ballot could arguably be the most important political event in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Duma vote serves as a dress rehearsal for Mr. Putin’s reelection, to ensure there will be no surprises.

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Moving the elections to September ensures that many city dwellers will still be rusticating at their dachas
read more about it in the report
What's inside
  • Conventional wisdom holds that Vladimir Putin plans to be president for life
  • Changes in security apparatus and personnel moves support this view
  • Alternatively, Mr. Putin could be setting up exit strategy for 2018-2024 term
  • Transition may be fronted by fresh faces such as Anton Vaino
Who will benefit?
  • Report is targeted to the decision makers in cross country manufacturing – suppliers, manufacturers, logistics.
  • Also considered useful for the administrative university facilities, to better understand the possibe effects of current decisions.
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