Following the saga of Navalny’s conviction, release and rejection at the polls in Moscow, Levada reports (Russian-language link) that if a presidential election were held this weekend Vladimir Putin would have twenty-five percent more support (that is seven more points) than he had before Navalny launched his campaign.
Levada also reports that Putin’s “Party of Crooks and Thieves” (as Navalny has called it), United Russia, would have twenty percent more support (that is, five more points) than before Navalny’s campaign.
But wait, it gets worse.
Navalny’s personal numbers, and those of his party “People’s Alliance,” show absolutely no traction whatsoever. He hasn’t even cracked the 1.5% barrier.
Mind you, Russia is now headed for a double-dip recession. It hasn’t seen quarterly GDP growth rise in more than a year and half, and it has never fully recovered from the disastrous economic collapse of 2009. Yet even in this climate, Navalny’s opposition movement can make no headway at all. In its bastion of strength, Moscow, Navalny couldn’t even motivate half of the residents to go to the polls or even as much as 10% of them to support his alternative vision for Russia.
And now, of course, Navalny is headed to prison for five years, and he has not identified any successor who will pick up his flag and carry on while he is in prison. That may well be for the best, though, because given the extent of his failure the Russian opposition is likely much better off starting with a clean slate.