2012 election: why Russians voted the way they did
According to preliminary data from Russia’s Central Election Commission, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has scored 63,75% of the vote at the March 4 presidential election, Gennady Zyuganov – 17,19%. Mikhail Prokhorov – 7.82%, Vladimir Zhirinovsky – 6.23% and Sergey Mironov – 3.85%.
Experts were surprised by such a huge gap between Putin’s and Zyuganov’s results and with the third place of the election first-timer, tycoon Prokhorov. Russian analysts and experts explained to VoR the reasons for Putin’s victory.
The political old-timers seem to be getting off the track. The fifth presidential race of the Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky was a failure. His usual third place was taken by debutant Prokhorov. The chief communist Zyuganov had his fourth attempt but his rating hasn’t exceeded 17% for a long time. Experts believe that these two parties should focus on restructuring and putting forward new leaders, who would attempt to run again in 6 years. They should also improve their campaigning, believes political analyst Leonid Polyakov:
"Putin had a very original campaign this year. It was not announced at once in contrast to the other candidates, but published in the form of articles once a week. Each article dealt with a specific aspect of his program- the issue of nationality, economic or social policy, the political system, foreign relations. It was a real dialogue with the voters. People could read the articles and ponder over the program. Such a respectful form to address voters had its results even though Putin refused to take part in the debates personally."
Zhirinovsky’s campaign was absolutely the opposite, says expert from the Institute for National Strategic Studies Pavel Svyatenkov. On the whole, it was rather negative:
"His TV-ad with a donkey and his motto: Choose Zhirinovsky or Things will get Worsewere a failure. His campaign was careless and Zhirinovsky seems to be tired of politics."
Prokhorov’s third place was a surprise, except for his victory in London where 57, 52% of Russian residents in the UK voted for him. In Moscow and St.Pete the tycoon also did well, scoring 20 and 15%, says Leonid Polyakov:
"People voted for him as he is new to politics and is a victim of the regime - last year he was deprived of his party. Even though Russians don’t trust oligarchs at all, a new class of angry voters chose Prokhorov as the only candidate who could back their interests and opinions."
Moscow was the only Russian region where Putin got less than 50% of votes (46%). He had the highest results in the Caucasus: in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia where over 90% voted for the Prime Minister, namely 99,8% in Chechnya.