Moscow Mayoral Election: Updates

September 8, 2013
Alexei Navalny casts his vote | Kommersant

Today is the Mayoral election in Moscow. Updates are below. A guide to the background of the election, and why the election is important, is published at the bottom of this article (click here to jump to it).


7:36 EDT: Navalny polling at 27.39&, Sobyanin at 51.14% with 92.08% of districts reporting.

6:38 EDT: Navalny polling at 27.22%, Sobyanin at 51.34% with 81.68% of districts reporting.

5:06 EDT: Navalny polling at 26.72%, Sobyanin at 51.94% with 55.21% of districts reporting.

3:36 EDT: Latest polls show Sobyanin with 53.77%, Navalny with 25.15% and turnout at 33.23%.

1:59 EDT: Golos is reporting 13.5% of Moscow districts reporting with Sobyanin coming in a little over 50%.

1:47 EDT: There are reports of supporters of Sobyanin massing at Bolotnaya Square.

12:57 EDT: There have been a wide variety of polls showing Navalny at or above 30%, and the incumbent Sobyanin at perilously close to 50%.

12:17 EDT: State pollster FOM saying Sobyanin got 52.5% in its exit poll.

12:10 EDT: Navalny says he got 36%, enough for a second round, state says only 29%. State says Sobyanin got 56%.

12:07 EDT: Initial reports are starting to circulate with Navalny at 35% and Sobyanin at 46%.

11:53 EDT: Navalny Campaign to make an official statement at 12:15 EST.

10:58 EDT: After a 3.5 hr wait the Moscow Election Committee finally published turnout info, 26.28%.

10:42 EDT: Interfax quotes First Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Gorova:  “that two candidates in the election of the mayor of Moscow decided to join forces in filing complaints of violations of the election. Which candidates Gorova did not elaborate.”

10:37 EDT: The Navalny campaign has just released another press statement accusing the government of fraud, “We are confident that the results of voting at this point the second round of elections is inevitable and in the Kremlin prepared the political decision to fraud.”

10:12 EDT: Navalny’s campaign does not expect more than a 40% turnout according to Chief of Staff Leonid Volkov.

10:02 EDT: There have already been reports of “irregularities” as Navalny’s campaign has just sent out a press release calling on authorities to “respect the right to free expression of the will of Muscovites.”

9:50 EDT: Petr Ofitserov, one of Navalny’s co-defendants convicted alongside him recently in Kirov, has written a plea on his facebook page asking people to get out and vote.

“Today and yesterday I heard the same phrase: “why vote, have already decided everything,” and other variations of that stupid expression. Imagine that you go with a girlfriend or a wife and kids at night on the street. To meet you, drunken company Gopnik, in order to not only pick up the money, but also outrage over his wife, a girl. Their more and you have little chance of winning. Maybe they do not exist. And you do not need them, you can go. So the question is – what will you do? Sigh, and go home alone, because nothing is impossible to make. Or will fight as best he can, as long as there is power? Nothing is agreed until we have the strength and the will to fight. Nothing has been decided yet our dignity still alive. Our whole life is a continuous proof that there is always an opportunity for each of us to influence the events of a giant scale. Just one of a horseshoe nail can cause the loss of the kingdom. Only one voice can change the country. And that voice can be all of us. As a result, you can sit and think, from us that nothing depends on, and you can go out and change the city and country. Whom we always decide to be.”

9:45 EDT: So far the headline is the low voter turnout, not just in Moscow but across Russia. RFE/RL reports:

Low turnout is not just a Moscow problem today. Russian media reports low voter turnout in many areas of the 33 regions taking part in Sunday’s elections. Polls have closed in Russia’s Far East. In the eastern city of Khabarovsk, hit by recent flooding, less than 30% of eligible voters cast ballots.

Navalny has already voted, however.

Why Is Moscow’s Mayoral Election Important?

Today is the election for Moscow’s mayor. Let’s take a brief moment to remember what is at stake, and preview what we can expect.

This election has received so much attention largely because of one man – Alexei Navalny. Navalny made his name by blogging and uncovering corruption within the Kremlin, with a focus of the issues facing Moscow. It’s been quite some time since Russia has seen an opposition candidate of note, and many Russian liberals (and many Westerners) have pinned their hope on Navalny, despite the fact that his strong nationalism (which in some eyes is a nice word for racism, though it’s more complicated than that) has proven deeply problematic.

The incumbent candidate is a man by the name of Sergei Sobyanin, a senior member of Putin’s party, United Russia, and a favorite target of Navalny’s blog posts. Seeing strong opposition on the horizon, Sobyanin resigned as mayor in order to trigger a shortened election season and reduce the momentum of Navalny. Of course, Sobyanin has had plenty of help. Putin has been heavily campaigning for Moscow’s acting mayor, which has helped him grealty. The fact that Navalny was arrested, tried, and convicted on what almost all observers think are trumped-up charges has definitely helped spread the impression that even if Navalny is right about Sobyanin’s corruption, he might not be trustworthy as a candidate.

As we point out in today’s article, Muscovites may be too turned off by Navalny’s perceived radicalism. In the latest polls he is consistently polling at less than 20%.

For background reading, these are articles The Interpreter has written on Navalny and the election:

For more reading about Navalny, and what he means to Russia’s future, read: What Will Moscow’s Election Matter if Navalny Loses?

The latest polls: Pollsters Rule Out Second Round in Moscow Election

Analysis of what issues resonate with Moscow’s voters: Who Will Vote in Moscow, and Why?

An exploration of Sobyanin’s Party, United Russi: As United Russia Takes On Water, Russia’s Elite Jump Ship

A translation on how the candidates for mayor are using the internet to win votes: How the Moscow Mayoral Candidates are Winning the Internet