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Cablegate: Subject: Krasnoyarsk Election - Quiet On The

VZCZCXRO3874
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #5502/01 3271259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231259Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5409
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 005502

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PINR RS
SUBJECT: SUBJECT: KRASNOYARSK ELECTION - QUIET ON THE
SIBERIAN FRONT


Summary
-------

1. (SBU) A joke is circulating in Krasnoyarsk that the
regional electoral commission is taking care to make sure the
population doesn't falsify the elections. With less than two
weeks before polling day, virtually everyone "knows" the
election outcome -- a solid majority for United Russia;
enough votes to put the Communist Party of the Russian
Federation (KPRF) in the Duma; and a few "crumbs" for the
rest. The only remaining questions are how many voters will
turn out and how large United Russia's take will be. The
United Russia headquarters is smugly confident, while the
other parties complain of harassment, media bias, and the
misuse of administration resources. END SUMMARY.

United Russia Smugly Confident
------------------------------

2. (SBU) The chairman of United Russia's regional executive
committee, Aleksey Dodatko, exudes the confidence of a
veteran skipper, navigating home under clear skies. He and
his staff have tallied the numbers and calmly predict that
United Russia will bring in 60 percent of the vote, up from
the 45 percent success in the April regional legislative
elections and about equal to that which Putin received in
2003. Problems that have shaken the party in other regions,
such as rising prices on food, did not lead to a drop in the
party's numbers, according to Dodatko. (The governor
nonetheless opened special markets for peasant-farmers to
sell directly to city consumers.) Dodatko's only remaining
challenge was to ensure that the KPRF didn't get a larger
share of the vote than in the April elections -- about 20
percent of the voting population. The key to success was
managing the turnout, which he believed would be no more than
45 percent of eligible voters.

3. (SBU) Dodatko described United Russia as the party of
"leaders" and looked at the election as social legitimization
of the current course. He defended his party's decision not
to participate in debates on the grounds that other parties
had nothing to offer but criticism and were not ready to
discuss alternative plans for resolving real issues. The
"For a Just Russia" party were "running after the train,"
having faltered in the weeks following Putin's decision to
lead United Russia's party list. He likewise dismissed the
Communists and liberal Union of Right Forces (SPS), the
former as "jokes" or a "caricature" and the latter as
ideologically adrift. When asked about the protest vote, now
that "against all" was no longer an option for voters,
Dodatko seemed unconcerned, noting that there had been little
impact in the April elections or even an increase in spoiled
ballots.

Opponents are Hapless and Unhappy
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) Besides the KPRF, which appears from press reports
to be more or less satisfied with a minority position in the
next Duma, Krasnoyarsk's other "opposition" parties are
frustrated by a lack of access to the media and United
Russia's bullying use of administrative resources to bolster
its already strong position. Parties on the left -- KPRF,
"Just Russia", and Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's LDPR -- were
unable (or unwilling) to meet with Embassy, but local
newspapers report problems with confiscation of campaign
materials and general harassment.

5. (SBU) On the right, party leaders from Yabloko and SPS
complained about problems with the administration but appear
helpless to address those concerns. Yabloko regional
chairman Vladimir Kopytov said that militia officers had
detained him without reason to keep him from "interfering" in
a United Russia rally on November 4. He claimed that the
administration had blocked his party from posting campaign
billboards by "threatening" local advertising firms. (Poloff
noted United Russia billboards were sprinkled throughout the
city, but only a few solitary advertisements for LDPR, SR,
and SPS.) Sergey Shakmatov of SPS reiterated his party's
irritation with the administration's seizure of campaign
materials and likewise claimed about administration
interference in the party's programs.

6. (SBU) As in other regions, United Russia's domination of
the regional electoral commission creates a further challenge
for the opposition parties, denying them a transparent and
impartial court in which to air concerns. Chairman of the
Krasnoyarsk Electoral Commission Konstantin Bocharov
dismissed SPS's appeal related to the confiscation of
campaign materials as "politicking," noting that both the

MOSCOW 00005502 002 OF 002


Central Electoral Commission and a regional court had upheld
the regional commission's decision. He expressed pride that
his commission had only one ruling overturned -- a "technical
error" during the April elections.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: Conversations with others outside the
political parties offered an admittedly anecdotal picture of
a population largely disconnected from the election process.
Sergey Kim, a regional television journalist, said that
public complacency resulted from the region's strong economy
and "stable" political structure (so stable that the Deputy
Governor resigned out of "boredom," according to Kim).
Sociologist Irina Muratova of the Komkon-Yeast Siberia
polling firm said that without administrative pressure not
even 40 percent of population would turn out for elections.
Indeed, the number of "agitators" on the streets hawking a
new cell phone plan easily outnumbered the few party
activists waving flags or passing out flyers. Contacts in
town, from taxi drivers to businessmen, joked about United
Russia's attempt to take credit for improved roads and seemed
resigned to a carefully stage-managed election.
BURNS

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