April 21, 2022
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.
The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) building in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukraine’s government remains in place despite Russia’s invasion. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Alina Vozna (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 2023 and Presidential Election: By March 2024
Ukraine is due to hold parliamentary elections in 2023 and a presidential election in 2024.
In the last presidential vote, in 2019, actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko running on an anti-establishment platform. However, since then, the country’s traditional pro-Europe and pro-Moscow political forces have regained ground. Since the invasion, Ukrainians have rallied around Zelenskyy, but the United Kingdom and others have warned that Russia seeks to topple his government and install a pro-Moscow puppet regime.
Russia’s military aggression, which began in 2014, continues. Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. While Russia had perhaps expected that Ukraine’s government would collapse quickly, it has held. Moreover, most of Ukraine’s political factions have rallied behind Zelenskyy, with former rivals Yulia Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko (recently released from prison) posing for photos with him. Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has met in its chamber, with members singing the national anthem. Most if not all members of the Rada have remained in Ukraine, either to continue to carry out their legislative duties or to fight with the military.
Paul Sonne, Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris and John Hudson, Washington Post (April 11, 2022): Hubris and isolation led Vladimir Putin to misjudge Ukraine
Turkmenistan Snap Presidential Election: March 12, 2022
Turkmenistan – a highly repressive state that has never held free or fair elections and lacks a genuine political opposition – held a presidential election on March 12, 2022, nearly two yers early. The reason appears to be to cement dynastic succession, as the son of current president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, ran and won in a landslide.
Catherine Putz, The Diplomat (April 7, 2022): Small Shuffles in the Turkmen Cabinet of Ministers: Mere weeks after reappointing his father’s cabinet, the younger Berdimuhamedov has begun to make some personnel changes.
Belarus Constitutional Referendum: February 27, 2022
Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, held a constitutional referendum on February 27, 2022 as a way of extending his time in power (he has been president since 1994 – the first and only president of post-Soviet Belarus). The changes allow Lukashenko to remain in office until 2035 and scrap Belarus’s non-nuclear status. Belarus’s elections and political processes are neither free nor fair.
The country las held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, 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.
In addition, Russia staged troops in Belarus ahead of its invasion of Ukraine. More
Aaron Reich, Jerusalem Post (April 21, 2022): Russia planned to invade Belarus after Lukashenko was reelected – GUR
Igor Illyash, openDemocracy (April 12, 2022): Why Belarus is yet to join Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Peter Conradi, Times of London (April 10, 2022): Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya aims to topple ‘Kremlin’s puppet’ in Belarus: The opposition leader seen by many as the rightful winner of the rigged election that gave Aleksandr Lukashenko a sixth term sees cause for optimism amid the misery and bloodshed
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.
A series of protests in January 2022 rocked the country and left as many as 225 people dead, as well as a reported 12,000 people in detention. Russia briefly sent personnel under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), its military alliance of several post-Soviet states. More
Bruce Pannier, Foreign Policy Research Institute (April 7, 2022): Ukraine War Sparks Suspicion over Russia’s Designs on Kazakhstan
Zhanagul Zhursin, RFE/RL (April 5, 2022): ‘He Doesn’t Take Bribes’: Kazakh Town Happy With Mayor From First ‘Real Election’
Russia Regional Elections (some regions): September 2022 (due)
Turkmenistan Parliamentary and Local Elections: March 2023 (due)
Moldova Local Elections: October 2023 (due)
Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 29, 2023 (due)
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