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Aleksandr Kurochkin

Doctor of Political Science, Professor of Russian politics, St. Petersburg State University. Author of more than 50 publications in Russian and English, including those indexed in Scopus and Web of Science. September 2016-present: Professor of the Department of Russian politics, Dean of The Faculty of political science. Expert of the working group“ improvement
of investment activity” Investment Committee of St. Petersburg.

What Are the “Angry Citizens” Dissatisfied With Today? An Analysis of Municipal Elections in St. Petersburg 2019

The concept of “angry citizens” appeared and quickly became popular in the Russian political discourse in late 2011-early 2012 due to mass protests in Moscow and other major Russian cities. The term was accurate enough to describe this group of protesters: educated citizens, typically middle-class, not identifying with any political party, but at the same time sharing liberal values. Many experts talked about the emergence of a new political class in Russia, but the interests of this “class” have not been articulated beyond the requirements of purity and openness of the electoral process. Today, 7 years later, municipal elections in major cities (primarily in Moscow and St. Petersburg) are becoming a subject of keen interest of young opposition activists seeking support primarily from this group of voters. The analysis of the course and results of the municipal elections held in St. Petersburg on September 8th, 2019, revealed some important features in the changes of the value orientations and preferences of Russian urban voters. The first is the technocratization and rationalization of the electoral agenda, which is focused primarily on improving
the quality of life of citizens through more effective urban planning and management processes. It requires candidates to provide actual ideas/plans/programs for the development of municipal districts. The other side of technocratization has become the de-politicization of the electoral process in terms of in terms of commitment to traditional political values and
interests. The activity of key political parties, including “United Russia” (Yedinaja Rossija), has also significantly decreased during this campaign. The nature of the elections process has changed. If earlier it allowed the direct use of administrative resources and political pressure on candidates, today the conflicts between opposition and the current municipal authorities have moved mainly to the courtrooms. At the same time, the requirement of purity and openness of the electoral process, the exclusion of possible fraud remained unchanged. This demand became central
in 2019 in both Moscow and St. Petersburg cases and again united the “angry citizens” into an impressive political force, which produced as a result a significant change in the political composition of the Moscow city Duma, as well as in a number of municipal councils of St. Petersburg Keywords: municipal elections, electoral processes, angry city residents, localization and de-ideologization,
political identity.