How did the Russian Arctic vote?

Voter turnout and support for United Russia was biggest in Russia's Yamal-Nenets region. (Denis Shirshov/Barents Observer Infographics)
Voter turnout and support for United Russia was biggest in Russia’s Yamal-Nenets region. (Denis Shirshov/Barents Observer Infographics)
Voter turnout and support for the United Russia is biggest in the Yamal-Nenets region.

Like in the rest of the country, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s United Russia made a sweeping victory in the Russian North. The September 18th State Duma elections cemented and strengthened the power of Russia’s ruling party.

However, both voting results and turnout significantly varies across the country’s Arctic regions. While United Russia in the western Arctic regions got a better result in 2016 than in the previous 2011 elections, it got less support in central and eastern Arctic.

Arctic results

In the far eastern Arctic region of Chukotka, United Russia won 58,8 percent of the votes, down from 70,3 percent in 2011. Similarly, in the Yamal Nenets Autononous Okrug, the party this year won 67,2 percent compared with 71,7 percent in 2011.

Meanwhile, in Murmansk, the region bordering on Finland and Norway, United Russia boosted its support from 31,9 percent in 2011 to 42 percent in 2016. The same trend comes in the neighboring regions of Karelia, Komi, Arkhangelsk and the Nenets AO.

None of the other parties were even close to matching the results of the ruling United Russia. In Murmansk, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) came the closest with its 20 percent. 

Voter turnout down

All over Russia, voter turnout this year dropped and ended up at its lowest level ever in Post-Soviet Russia. In Murmansk, only 40 percent of the electorate showed up at the ballot boxes, a 10 percent decrease from the 2011 elections. A similar trend is clear also in the neighboring regions.

In the eastern Arctic regions, voter turnout was higher than in the west. In the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug, about 66 percent of the electorate cast their votes, while in Chukotka the figure was almost 65 percent, the regional governments inform.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Trudeau and Obama’s Arctic endeavours, Deutsche Welle’s Ice-Blogger

Denmark:  Obama and Nordic leaders pledge Arctic cooperation, Alaska Dispatch News

Finland:  UN rep. urges suspension of Sámi elections, Yle News

Greenland:  Greenland, Alaska elections bolster Arctic resource extraction, Blog by Mia Bennett

Iceland:  Meet Eliza Reid – Iceland’s Canadian first lady, Radio Canada International

Russia:  United Russia wins elections in Russia’s western Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  Land, water rights big issues in Sweden’s Sami elections, Radio Sweden

United States: Obama, Trudeau announce plans to fight Arctic oil and gas pollution; Alaskans criticize lack of input, Alaska Dispatch News

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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