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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City's Muddled Liberals Boosted Rodina

The first-time success of the Rodina, or Homeland, bloc in Moscow was a result of the failure by liberal parties Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces to consolidate their support base in the city, political analysts said Monday.

Rodina, led by Sergei Glazyev and Dmitry Rogozin, received 15.3 percent of Moscow residents' votes -- almost as much as the two liberal parties put together, according to preliminary results from the Central Elections Commission.

Rodina received 9 percent of the vote nationwide, while Yabloko received 4.3 percent and the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, had 3.9 percent.

Support for SPS in the city fell to 7.8 percent, down from 10.7 percent in the 1999 Duma elections. Although Yabloko increased its share of the city vote marginally, from 9.3 percent to 10.2 percent, the party still fell short of the 5 percent threshold required to win seats in the Duma.

"This is the natural result of Moscow's complete disillusionment with liberalism," said Yury Korgunyuk, a political analyst at the Indem think tank. "The tendency in the decline of liberal votes is very clear."

"Our middle class does not like it when someone tells them about their responsibilities. Liberal rhetoric simply does not work anymore, while the language of [Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir] Zhirinovsky and Glazyev does," Korgunyuk said. "Rodina stole votes from both the left and the right."

Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank, said the rise of nationalism and xenophobia in the city was also responsible for Rodina's success.

"Until now the country's nationalists -- and I place this figure at roughly 20 percent -- had no adequate political movement to vote for, since all the possible alternatives were way too marginal and extreme for the majority," he said.

Pribylovsky said that Rodina's duality, uniting social democrats and nationalists, ensured that it received support from people of different political persuasions.

"Some voted for them as a social democratic alternative to Zyuganov's Communists, while others chose them as 'civilized' nationalists," he said.

Rodina scored significantly higher in the city than the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, which won 6.5 percent of the vote, twice its 3.2 percent in 1999, but far less than its 11.7 percent share nationwide.

The Communists also polled lower in Moscow, with 7.7 percent against 12.7 percent nationwide, while United Russia's support was also slightly down on national figures -- 34.5 percent in Moscow against 37 percent nationwide.

Pribylovsky said that it was ultimately the failure of the liberals to rally their supporters that cost them their places in the next Duma.

"Yabloko has a huge potential as a party of the impoverished intelligentsia, but it barely uses it to its advantage," he said.