The Parliamentary Election Campaign Has Failed to Capture the Interest of Russians

Even in the midst of a parliamentary election campaign, Russians appear to be uninterested in domestic policy concerns. According to weekly surveys conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center and the Public Opinion Foundation, respondents pay little attention to domestic political events.

The president’s activities are at the top of the list of political events that most impress Russians. These include Vladimir Putin’s June 16 meeting with US President Joe Biden in Geneva and the Russian president’s June 30 Q&A session. However, pandemic-related news has stayed with people the longest, only being surpassed by the Russia-US meeting and the Siberian wildfires last week.

According to Public Opinion Foundation Leading Analyst Grigory Kertman, Russians are less interested in the upcoming election than in other topics such as the pandemic, natural disasters, and sporting events, and that people’s interests are defined by the media agenda, which is currently filled with events related to those topics. Because campaigning has been poor, Russians are unlikely to become more interested in the election than in the epidemic by September, according to Kertman.

According to the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center, there is little interest in the next election. The major reason is that elections used to be held multiple times a year, but since 2012, they have only been held once a year, according to the center’s Director-General Valery Fedorov. According to him, it is also critical to examine the type of vote that will take place, because Russians pay more attention to presidential and gubernatorial elections than to assembly elections. People understand who makes policy choices, therefore voter participation is dependent on the authority that people elected will really hold, according to Federov.