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The Year of Living Dangerously (for Russians and Their Neighbors)

2021 was a year of crackdowns, COVID-19, and saber-rattling.

The Kremlin’s Don’t-Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign

by Matthew Luxmoore, Sept. 16

Russians went to the polls to vote in parliamentary elections in September. Not that you might have noticed. Protests sparked by rigged presidential elections in neighboring Belarus offered a parable on the dangers of trying to pull too much wool over the electorate’s eyes. Instead, the Kremlin sought to make sure the election campaign was as tedious as possible in a bid to keep those pesky opposition voters at home. “They’re ‘drying’ the turnout. If you make the elections boring, and limit discussion, people will think there is no agenda and nothing to decide, and their vote won’t change anything,” Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of the political consultancy R.Politik, told Foreign Policy.

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