- The Kremlin hasn’t floated a theme for the September elections to the State Duma
- United Russia and the “cartel parties” will dominate the official results
- A mixed voting system with single-member districts will strengthen the hand of regional governors
- Vladimir Putin has delegated a top aide to keep an eye on the new parliament
The next elections to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, will be held on September 18. At first glance, no surprises could possibly be in store. Russia’s political system is stable. The post-Crimean consensus, which rallied the broad masses and the vast majority of the elite around the Kremlin, has not cracked even under dire economic conditions. And parliament, particularly its lower chamber, carries very little political weight under Russia’s constitutional setup. Its function has been reduced to legitimizing the power structure and subjecting its basic elements to a periodic stress test.