Eurasia This Week: June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Eurasia, usually posted on Thursdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

A poster of Nikol Pashinyan, who became Armenia’s prime minister in the 2018 pro-democracy “Velvet Revolution,” on a car in Yerevan. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Yerevantsi (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Armenia Snap Parliamentary Elections: June 20, 2021

Armenia is holding snap parliamentary elections on June 20 in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a defeat in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pre-election polls suggested a close contest Pashinyan acting prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and former president Robert Kocharyan. Pashinyan became prime minister following the 2018 pro-democracy “Velvet Revolution.” However, he mostly maintained Armenia’s pro-Russia geopolitical stance. Kocharyan takes an openly pro-Kremlin stance. Therefore, the vote probably won’t result in any major geopolitical shifts.

AFP (June 20, 2021): Armenian PM wins snap election as rival alleges fraud: Nikol Pashinyan’s party gained over 50% of the vote but the opposition contested the result, alleging fraud

Euronews, AP, and AFP (June 18, 2021): In Armenia, a bitter election in the shadow of a lost war

Reuters (June 18, 2021): Election in Armenia, meant to end political crisis, is too close to call

Arshaluis Mghdesyan, Instiute for War and Peace Reporting (June 18, 2021): Russia Looms Large Over Armenian Elections: Security consequences of Karabakh war may reverse the country’s pro-Western drift.

Joshua Kucera, Eurasianet (June 18, 2021): Russia sitting out Armenian elections: While top challenger Robert Kocharyan is eagerly pro-Russia, the Kremlin has gotten comfortable with the incumbent, Nikol Pashinyan.

Rayhan Demytrie, BBC (June 18, 2021): Armenia’s war defeat prompts bitter vote on rebuilding country

Ani Mejlumyan, Eurasianet (June 17, 2021): Armenia’s ex-president seeks to lead again: Robert Kocharyan is trying for a unique feat in the post-Soviet space: a return to power. And he’s risen to the top of the heap of the many opposition contenders vying in the June 20 elections.

Moldova Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Moldova is holding snap parliamentary elections on July 11, which pro-Europe center-right president Maia Sandu had been trying to call for months. Sandu trounced pro-Kremlin leftist Igor Dodon, who had been the incumbent, in the November 2020 presidential election However, no party currently has a clear majority in parliament (and Sandu’s allies are outnumbered by pro-Russian parties). The resulting political instability was reaching crisis levels. More

Madalin Necsutu, Balkan Insight (June 17, 2021): Vladimir Voronin – Soviet Relic Eying Fresh Start in Politics

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Russia is due to hold parliamentary elections by September 19, 2021. Russian elections are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, the opposition has been making some gains in recent regional elections, helped by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s “Smart Vote,” a campaign of tactical voting, in which they developed a list of candidates the best chance of beating Vladimir Putin’s United Russia. Consequently, the Kremlin has launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition, including imprisoning Navalny. More

Reuters (June 19, 2021): Russia’s Putin tries to give ruling party a pre-election boost with spending promises

AFP (June 18, 2021): Russia Staggers Parliamentary Elections to Limit Covid Spread

Georgia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Georgia is due to hold local elections in October 2021, and they are particularly important because – as a result of a deal to resolve the political crisis following last year’s parliamentary elections – they could spark new parliamentary elections if the ruling Georgian Dream party wins less than 43 percent of the proportional vote. The political climate is tense, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout. More (June 16, 2021): ISFED Releases Pre-Election Period Report Ahead of Local Polls (June 15, 2021): GD’s Kobakhidze Talks Gakharia Controversies, Local Elections, Ivanishvili

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: Fall 2021 (expected)

Kyrgyzstan’s leader has proposed re-running the parliamentary elections that took place in October 2020. Those elections and allegations of fraud led to political turmoil, followed by a snap presidential election in January 2021 and a constitutional referendum (alongside local elections) in April 2021. The new constitution, which passed, grants the president vastly expanded powers. Its critics have dubbed it the “Khanstitution.” The political climate was tense heading into the October 2020 parliamentary elections. It subsequently exploded following said elections. More

RFE/RL (June 17, 2021): Close Ally Of Kyrgyz Ex-President Detained On Suspicion Of ‘Illegal Enrichment’

Past Eurasia Elections

Belarus Presidential Election: August 9, 2020

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, incumbent Alexander Lukashenko declared victory. However, the opposition declared that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya had in fact won. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets in protest to demand free and fair elections, even in the face of assault and arrest by security forces. Protests continue. More

Jonathan Chew, The Dispatch (June 15, 2021): What’s Next for Belarus?

Belsat (June 14, 2021): G7 leaders call for new presidential elections in Belarus

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Armenia Snap Parliamentary Elections: June 20, 2021

Moldova Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Georgia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: Fall 2021 (expected)

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

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