Today, the senior management Spravedlivaya Rossia (Just Russia) will bring its mandates “trade” the State Duma to the next level. And I’ll have an unexpected opportunity to punish them for it. I do not much believe in the current rule of the law, but as a future lawyer I am obliged to seize the occasion. Moreover, this trade has touched me directly. Do you remember the wonderful quote: “Evil must be and will be punished!” ) Moreover, we have “just” Russia, at least.
How it all began
5 years ago (in already far 2011) I took part in the elections to the State Duma from Novosibirsk Oblast. I was number two in the list of then “vegetarian” Spravedlivaya Rossia that declared support of protest moods. Then, during the election campaign, we drove around and went on foot the Oblast and Novosibirsk (our area comprised of 1,200,000 electorate). I participated in the debates, including against a candidate from the Edinaya Rossia (United Russia) Alexander Karelin. We experienced confiscations of newspaper circulation, withdrawals of commercials from the radio and television, power cut during our public speaking; party members were systematically took in custody by police, merry-go-round was arranged on the day of the election itself. In general, it was “fun” and intense ) I obtained experience of the election campaign arrangement up to my neck.
As a result of “black” but very faery fight of ER with us, we have received only one mandate – Ilya Ponomaryov entered the Duma. However, two weeks ago, the SR deprived Ponomaryov the mandate at the end of convocation. It is clear that it was such a demonstration of dedication and loyalty to the authorities by the SR party bosses. It’s a kind of “we are ready to do everything, but please let us enter the Duma once more, we beg you, we are good-for-anything”. In fact, the last working day of the current Duma will be held this Friday (24th of June). It is a strange decision to withdraw the mandate at the last moment, but the top of the SR must liked it.
You have to understand that people voted for a clear list with clear serial numbers on the 2011 elections. People saw a name-by-name list of candidates from the party. That is why during calculation of the results immediately after the vote the mandates were distributed strictly in order – number by number. But, for example, if a mandate appeared vacant for a certain reason (in this case, Ponomaryov was expelled from the Duma), the mandate was given to next number in the list: in this case, to the second number. However, the wilds of the law have a trick – any party can intervene in the “natural’ process of mandates distribution in the order of priority and give it to another number from the same list. They could hardly give the SR mandate to me in the exact queue order – Mironov and Levichev disliked me as soon as they took off their white ribbons and dissociated from the opposition, which they supported at the beginning of the convocation and due to which SR obtained the high result during the election campaign that year. But I was wondering, to which number they would give the mandate and how they would justify it.
As a result, the Central Electoral Commission yesterday announced that it would give the mandate as low as number 12 in our list! It’s okay that they crossed me, but they decided to “stiff” another 9 people. And, unlike me, there are long-term members of the party (I have never been SR party member been or I have never been Ponomaryov’s assistant). That’s a real leadership “of principle, which stands “for justice” and showed its attitude to everybody in the list, for which electorate voted.
Once, the SR leadership have violated the order of transfer – after expulsion of Gennady Gudkov from the Duma for the same reasons (he actively participated in the protest movement in 2012), his mandate was given not to the second by straight away to the third number. Then the media wrote that the mandate of the third number was just purchased (fascinating reading, I must confess). That excited the whole Duma, since, in general, all the other factions realized that it was an incorrect loophole and it could not be used. The order of the list should be still respected. By the way, no one but the SR leadership “betrays” the order in the list with such creativity. A group of deputies of the ER protested that fact so strongly, that they applied to the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court rejected the complaint, but still said that a party can “jump over” people in the list only, and I quote: “in exceptional circumstances”. That is, the SR leadership had to justify their reluctance to give the mandate in the queue order to already 10 candidates in the regional list or make a voluntary refusal of these 10 people. At least, I know two people who did not write such a refusal and there are no exceptional circumstances, because their relationship with the party as well as with the region is not lost. Of course, I’m sure nothing happened to the work with the list of candidates, and the mandate was “pushed” to number 12 without much ado. It is interesting to see how the voting itself as to transfer that mandate was held in the SR. I remember, several face to face discussions in the SR were held on Levichev’s mandate that was “expelled” in the CEC and who will give the mandate in the CEC to number 12 today.
Now, there is a campaign to the next convening. I can hardly imagine how the SR will bring people in its lists with such an approach – they are real thieves ) They will make people lean over backwards at the top of the list, and keep real alternatives in the bottom of the list for “their own people”, for example, for assistants of the SR top.
I can imagine a conversation with a candidate, let’s call him Vasiliy:
— Vasiliy, we can put you on the second place, but it will be necessary to finance the campaign.
But Vasiliy is like this:
— What would happen if suddenly the mandate is vacant…
And they say:
— Oh, well, it is necessary to think )))
And Vasiliy, of course, will be satisfied with the response because he will give the resources and will work as a hired hand for to the campaign despite the fact that he already knows the experience of SR on the mandates exchange market.
My summer practive
Duma closes this Friday, and the elections of the next convocation are on September 18. This mandate costs nothing. As for me, after all these stories with SR, there is no loss at all. BUT! I am a student at Moscow State Law Academy, and I needed summer practice in the profile very much, out teachers require it. In reality, the Constitution is violated in this case – a holy document for a lawyer ) I am sure that the SR will now “comb” the whole situation, well, it’s no big deal. I will give them a head start )
As a side note, the SR still have honest people, whom I really respect. By the way, after the elections to the Moscow City Duma in 2014, I was openly supported by Galina Petrovna Khovanskaya, I officially became her assistant and to date I have participated in her election campaign on the 198th single-mandate constituency in Moscow, where I live and where I was elected to Moscow City Duma. SR brand did not embarrass me, because I am sure that Galina Petrovna is a very decent person and one of the VERY few professionals in the current convocation. Actions of the SR bosses look like “knocking-out” of Galina Petrovna from the campaign, which is, in general, the freakish, for she is their strongest single-mandate candidate in Moscow, the soil in the form of the team and asset.
And the senior management of Spravedlivaya Rossia is a very special case ) It will be pleasant and interesting for me to fight with such a top-ranking… (I am lost to select the exact word here: it is up to your own moral and ethical verbal taste to select the necessary one).
P.S. Danila, if you read my text be aware that I have no complaints to you as I had no complaints to Ponomaryov. If I were you and if I were aware of the course of the campaign and how and by whom it was done, I would refuse the mandate and play fair from a male and a human point of view ) But this is all about morality and ethics. It is an individual selection of each person. For the new generation of politicians, I believe, to be honest would be the right choice after all, especially for a men and a politician.