Because of the predicable outcomes of recent Russian elections, voters are often characterized as passive actors in the electoral process. However, as we show in this article, political and social factors still underpin the motivations for people’s voting behavior. The article analyzes voting behavior in the 2016 State Duma election, using a post-election, nationally representative survey to assess the differences between the four parliamentary parties’ support bases. It finds that voting decisions in the 2016 election were strongly related to voters’ attitudes to the national president, Vladimir Putin, as well as to their attitudes to corruption and the economic situation. Voters who were more positive to the president and viewed the economic crisis more benignly were more likely to vote for the ‘party of power’, United Russia. Moreover, the four parties’ electorates had distinctive social profiles that were consistent with long-term patterns established in previous State Duma elections.
Max Bader, “The Role of Precinct Commissions in Electoral Manipulation in Russia: Does Party Affiliation Matter?”, Russian Politics2, no. 4 (2017): 434–453; David White, “Modifying Electoral Authoritarianism: What the 2016 Parliamentary Elections Tell Us About the Nature and Resilience of the Putin Regime”, Russian Politics 2, no. 4 (2017): 482–501.<
Ted Brader and Joshua A. Tucker, “Pathways to Partisanship: Evidence from Russia”, Post-Soviet Affairs, 24, no. 3 (2008): 263–300; Arthur H. Miller and Thomas F. Klobucar, “The Development of Party Identification in Post-Soviet Societies,” American Journal of Political Science 44, no. 4 (2000): 667–686.
Vladimir N. Brovkin, “Corruption in the 20th Century Russia”, Crime, Law & Social Change40 no. 2/3 (2003) 195–230; Anastassia Obydenkova & Alexander Libman, “Understanding the Survival of Post-Communist Corruption in Contemporary Russia: The Influence of Historical Legacies”, Post-Soviet Affairs 31 no. 4 (2015): 304–338.
Ilya Kiriya, “The Impact of International Sanctions on Russia’s Media Economy”, Russian Politics2, no. 1 (2017): 80–97; Derek S. Hutcheson, Parliamentary Elections in Russia: A Quarter-Century of Multiparty Politics (Oxford: British Academy/Oxford University Press. 2018 forthcoming), chapter 5.