Two-thirds of Russians declare readiness to vote in 2018 presidential polls

Two-thirds of Russians declare readiness to vote in 2018 presidential polls
Just under 70 percent of Russian citizens currently report various degrees of readiness to participate in the upcoming presidential elections, while only 7 percent of respondents say they have no plans to vote.

According to the latest report released by the state-run VTSIOM research center, over 52 percent of Russians say they will definitely take part in the 2018 elections. Over 17 percent said that such a scenario was very likely and 16 percent said they have not yet made a final decision.

Seven percent of respondents said they were not planning to participate in the presidential polls. Of this non-voting group, about one-third explained the decision by the assertion that voting “makes no sense,” 18 percent said that they did not find the procedure interesting, 8 percent said they did not believe that the elections would be fair and 21 percent could not give a particular reason for their position.

The next Russian presidential elections are scheduled for early 2018. The exact date is yet to be announced, but according to the law the election must be held on the second Sunday of the month of the previous election – which in this case would be March 11. However, earlier this month the head of the upper house’s Committee for Constitutional Law, Senator Andrey Klishas, drafted a bill seeking to set the date of 2018 presidential elections as March 18 to coincide with the commemoration of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin supported the move.

Three politicians have already announced their decision to run for the presidency in 2018. These are the founder of the liberal party Yabloko, Grigory Yavlinsky, the head of the nationalist LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and anti-corruption activist Aleksey Navalny. The latter has secured some backing from a number of minor opposition parties.

Navalny is technically banned from running for presidency under Russian law because he is currently serving a five-year suspended jail sentence that won’t expire before the next election. However, the activist has vowed to contest this rule in the Constitutional Court.

Russia’s largest opposition party – the Communists – have not yet announced their candidate, nor has the parliamentary majority United Russia party. Incumbent President Vladimir Putin has yet to indicate his candidacy.