Eurasia This Week: August 19, 2021

August 19, 2021

A weekly review 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.

Tbilisi’s Europe Square, with the flags of Georgia and the European Union. October’s local elections in Georgia have much more geopolitical import than typical. Photo credit: © Anastasi21/ (Copyright)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Russia holds 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 proposition, including imprisoning Navalny. Candidates who have worked with Navalny or supported him have been banned from the upcoming election. Only one genuine opposition party – the liberal Yabloko – currently is able to field candidates. More

Jan Matti Dollbaum, Morvan Lallouet and Ben Noble, Washington Post (August 20, 2021): Alexei Navalny was poisoned one year ago. His fate tells us a lot about Putin’s Russia.

Tom Balmforth and Anton Zverev, Reuters (August 19, 2021): Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny tells Russians to sabotage upcoming elections

Samantha Berkhead, Times of London (August 19, 2021): Kremlin attacks last election monitor Golos before key test for Putin at polls

Reuters (August 18, 2021): Russia labels Golos vote movement as foreign agent, month before election

Meduza (August 18, 2021): Communist Party calls on elections officials to reject Maria Butina’s candidacy due to foreign funding

Tony Barber, Financial Times (August 18, 2021): Russia’s elections are an exercise in repression and empty ritual: A crackdown on dissent makes next month’s parliamentary contest the least free of Vladimir Putin’s 21-year rule

Regina Smyth, The Conversation (August 16, 2021): Vladimir Putin plans to win Russia’s parliamentary election no matter how unpopular his party is

Georgia Local Elections: October 2, 2021

Georgia has scheduled local elections for October 2, 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. However, the ruling Georgian Dream scrapped the agreement in July, raising concerns about Georgia’s political stability. The political climate is tense, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.

Most recently, an uptick in violence against the LGBT community and journalists, perpetrated by far-right and pro-Kremlin forces, has fueled the wider debate about where Georgia is going, both culturally and geopolitically. More

Ian Kelly and David J. Kramer, Foreign Policy (August 20, 2021): Georgia Turns Its Back on the West: The ruling Georgian Dream party is taking Tbilisi into Moscow’s orbit while eroding democratic institutions.

JAMnews (August 20, 2021): NDI survey: 51% believe there is no democracy in Georgia

Beka Chedia, Jamestown Foundation (August 17, 2021): Russian Interference in Georgian Politics: The Activation of Ultra-Right Forces (August 17, 2021): Four Opposition Parties Name Joint Tbilisi Majoritarian Candidates

Archil Sikharulidze, New Eastern Europe (August 16, 2021): Georgia’s argument over ‘Michel’ is finished, at least for now (August 16, 2021): Georgian Authorities Urged to Cancel Belarus KGB Dealk

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

Uzbekistan is holding a presidential election on October 24, 2021. Elections in Uzbekistan are neither free nor fair, and political opposition is not able to operate freely in the country. Although some had hoped that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev would face a serious challenger this year, that looks increasingly unlikely as would-be challengers are either being denied ballot access or dropping outMore

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

Past Eurasia Elections

Armenia Snap Parliamentary Elections: June 20, 2021

Armenia held 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; however, Pashinyan ended up winning by a significant margin.

Pashinyan became prime minister following the 2018 pro-democracy “Velvet Revolution.” However, he mostly maintained Armenia’s pro-Russia geopolitical stance, and that does not look likely to change in the near future.

Hurriyet (August 19, 2021): Armenia ready to normalize ties with Turkey, says Pashinyan

Ani Mejlumyan, Eurasianet (August 19, 2021): Armenia at last appoints new foreign minister

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 and political defiance continue. More

Ivan Nechepurenko and Valerie Hopkins, New York Times (August 20, 2021): ‘Our Goal Is to Keep the Regime on Its Toes’: Inside Belarus’s Underground Opposition: Despite a government campaign of terror and arbitrary arrests, thousands of activists are working clandestinely to spread dissent and undermine the government.

Grigory Ioffe, Jamestown Foundation (August 16, 2021): Summing Up: One Year Since the Disputed Presidential Elections in Belarus

Meduza (August 16, 2021): ‘Now there’s no fear — just sadness’: A year after Belarus’s presidential election, five protesters tell Meduza how their lives have changed as Lukashenko has tightened his grip on power

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Russia Parliamentary Elections: September 17-19, 2021

Georgia Local Elections: October 2, 2021

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: Fall 2021 (expected)

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Share This