“Caucasus Times” invites you to the presentation of the book, The Northern Caucasus in the Year of the Election

Dear Colleagues,

The information agency “Caucasus Times” invites you to the presentation of the book, The Northern Caucasus in the Year of the Election, which will take place on 25 November 2008 from 10:00 to 12:00 in the Andrei Sakharov Museum. We also invite human rights activists, journalists, experts and donors to take part in the press-conference called “The Northern Caucasus: Threats to Stability.”

The year of parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia in 2007-2008 became an important stage in the establishment and further evolution of the Russian political system, which many observers have characterized as a “managed” or “imitational” democracy. The media and expert community have given significant attention to Russian parliamentary and presidential elections and their results, underscoring the Kremlin’s omnipotence, uneven access to media by political actors, the imitational nature of the election campaign, as well as the predetermined outcome of the process. However, the population’s attitude towards the parliamentary and presidential elections and its actual electoral behavior remain an understudied subject. This is particularly relevant to the North Caucasian republics, which are some of the most problematic regions of contemporary Russia.

The book, to the presentation of which you have been invited, analyzes, generalizes and synthesizes the results of the unique project undertaken by the informational agency “Caucasus Times” from August 2007 to May 2008. During that period, the agency regularly conducted polls in the capitals of the North Caucasian republics, determining the population’s attitude towards the elections, its party and political preferences, as well as its electoral behavior.

Besides questions directly linked to the elections, the study investigated the population’s attitude towards the specific problems concerning one republic or another. The study also investigated expectations regarding socioeconomic and security issues. Thus, for example, during a poll in the Chechen capital of Groznyy it turned out that 39% of respondents expected a resurgence of military activity in the republic. Polls in Ingushetia showed whom the local residents blame for the eruption of violence in the region. In Kabardino-Balkaria, in the city of Nalchik, polls studied local attitudes towards the celebration of the Kabarda’s entry into Russia, as well as the public’s assessment of president A. Kanokov.

The uniqueness of the aforementioned research project is in the two-step process that the survey followed: first, opinion was measured during the election campaign, determining the respondents’ political preferences; then, after the elections, our team analyzed the particularities of electoral behavior in the North Caucasian republics. Information received during the polls largely differed from official election results published by Russia’s Central Election Committee, painting an alternative picture of the situation in the region, and resulting in a piece of research extremely valuable to understanding the processes currently unfolding in the North Caucasus.

The present work is a continuation of the successful publishing campaign of the “Caucasus Times” agency, which in 2007 released a brochure titled “The North Caucasus: A Look from Within,” which analyzed the results of previous sociological studies in the North Caucasus, conducted by the agency in 2004-2006.

Those wishing to take part in book’s presentation, as well as the discussion of the situation in the North Caucasus, can receive an invitation by e-mail. Direct your requests to the editor at tekushev@caucasustimes.com

The Andrei Sakharov was founded in 1996 by the Andrei Sakharov Fund (USA) and is chaired by his widow, Elena Bonner. The museum’s mission is to “contribute to the preservation of historical memory of victims of political repression and crimes by the Soviet Regime; to contribute to the strengthening of principles of democratic society and open government in modern Russia, which Andrei Sakharov shared and stood for.”


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