Russia Profile has an interesting article on the party lists that are now in the process of being registered for Duma elections.
At the federal level, voters know parties mostly by the top three candidates on the party list who will be the first to enter the Duma if a party receives more than 7 percent of the vote nationwide.
With the notable exception of United Russia [the ruling party], almost all parties made their top three candidates public at their conventions.
Parties that are at risk of winning less than 7% of the nationwide votes are really struggling to stand out by personalizing their lists:
The smaller parties, striving to attract attention, put popular figures and TV personalities on their lists, even if the credentials of those people were somewhat controversial. The Civil Force, a party popularly seen as a “spoiler” group aimed at stealing the liberal vote from the Union of Right Forces, is headed by attorney Mikhail Barshchevsky, a popular figure on various intellectual TV shows, and Mariya Arbatova, a fiery feminist and TV personality known for her non-standard views on sex and marriage.
Some experts and prominent public figures expressed dissatisfaction at this tendency, saying that it turns serious politics into a contest for viewers’ sympathies.
“Parties do not know how to attract attention to themselves,” said Vyacheslav Nikonov, head of the Unity in the Name of Russia foundation, a think tank associated with United Russia. “So they try to attract television viewers by putting familiar faces into their lists who have no real political meaning whatsoever.
When party labels are so weak, and the threshold so high, indeed they do.
The article also notes that, in addition to a national list, there are regional lists, which had not previously been clear to me in any summaries of the new all-list electoral system.
In accordance with recent change in electoral law, for the first time, parties have to register regional lists, with the hope that voters will be able to choose from candidates they know from local news and events.
The election is 2 December. Previous entries on the election can be found by clicking on either of the orchard blocks in which this one was “planted in,” above.