Eurasia

October 7, 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.

A street in Batumi, on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. Georgia just held local elections in a climate of deep political tensions. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Sandro Chikobava (public domain)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: November 28, 2021

Kyrgyzstan will hold parliamentary elections on November 28, 2021 – a re-run of 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

Catherine Putz, The Diplomat (October 6, 2021): Kyrgyzstan: A Year Since October 2020: It’s been a year since Kyrgyzstan erupted in post-election protests and precipitated the fall of yet another government in Bishkek.

Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL (October 5, 2021): Controversy And Confusion Again In Kyrgyzstan’s Parliamentary Elections

Past Eurasia Elections

Georgia Local Elections: October 2, 2021

Georgia held local elections on October 2, 2021 in a tense political climate, exacerbated by the arrest of former president Mikheil Saakashvili on the eve of the vote.

A recent 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

Peter Dickinson, Atlantic Council (October 5, 2021): Saakashvili arrest overshadows Georgian ruling party’s election win

Tony Wesolowsky, RFE/RL (October 5, 2021): Instead Of A Hero’s Welcome, Georgian Ex-President Saakashvili Faces Years In Prison

Reuters (October 3, 2021): Georgia ruling party wins local election after arrest of ex-president

Irakli Metreveli, AFP (October 3, 2021): Georgia Ruling Party Leads Polls, Opposition Alleges Fraud

Russia Parliamentary Elections: September 17-19, 2021

Russia held parliamentary elections September 17-19, 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 launched a brutal crackdown on the proposition, including imprisoning Navalny. Candidates who have worked with Navalny or supported him were banned from the election. Only one genuine opposition party – the liberal Yabloko – was able to field candidates. 

Moreover, international technology companies such as Google and Apple assisted the regime by removing apps associated with Navalny’s Smart Vote. More

RFE/RL (October 7, 2021): Poll: Trust In Putin Drops To Lowest Levels Since 2012

András Tóth-Czifra, Institute of Modern Russia (October 6, 2021): Whither legitimacy? Lessons of Russia’s rigged elections

Robyn Dixon, Washington Post (October 6, 2021): Russia’s rising young communists pose an unexpected new threat to Putin’s grip

Reuters (October 5, 2021): Ukraine imposes sanctions on 95 people after Russian vote in annexed Crimea, report says

William Partlett, The Conversation (October 4, 2021): Russia is building its own kind of sovereign internet — with help from Apple and Google

Moldova Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Moldova held snap parliamentary elections on July 11, which pro-Europe center-right president Maia Sandu had been trying to call for months because in Moldova’s parliamentary system, a legislative majority is necessary to execute on any policy agenda. Prior to these elections, no party had a clear majority in parliament (and Sandu’s allies were outnumbered by pro-Russian parties), leading to political instability. Sandu’s allies ended up winning in a landslide.

Sandu herself trounced pro-Kremlin leftist Igor Dodon, who had been the incumbent, in the November 2020 presidential election, after losing narrowly to him in 2016. More

Iulian Ernst, bne IntelliNews (October 6, 2021): Moldova’s head prosecutor arrested on four counts of corruption

Saran Vladislav, Institute for War and Peace Reporting (October 5, 2021): Moldova: Sandu Continues European Pivot: Moscow irked by Chisinau’s growing closeness to its regional neighbours

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.

Baltic Times (October 4, 2021): Lithuanian president calls on Armenian PM to step up implementation of democratic reforms

Kazakhstan Legislative Elections: January 10, 2021

Kazakhstan held legislative elections for January 10, 2021. The country’s elections take place in the context of an authoritarian system in which critics of the government face harassment and arrest. As such, no genuine opposition has representation in the legislature. More

Hubert-Felix Delattre, Charles-Adrien Fourmi, Dylan van de Ven, and Gabrielle Valli, New Eastern Europe (October 4, 2021): Nazarbayev’s handmade political transition in Kazakhstan

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Georgia Local Elections: October 2, 2021

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: November 28, 2021

Belarus Constitutional Referendum: By February 2022 (proposed)

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