Alexey Ten Percent. (Or More).

The other day a Levada poll was released showing an apparently lackluster performance by Navalny in a hypothetical Presidential race against Putin and the other candidates.

If there were elections on the coming Sunday, who would you vote for? (The figures below exclude those said they don’t know, or don’t intend to vote).

Apr13 Apr14 Apr15 Jan16 Apr17
Putin 64 81 82 83 83
Zhirinovsky 7 6 5 4 5
Zyuganov 13 7 9 6 4
Shoigu 3 2 <1 3 2
Navalny <1 <1 1 1 2
Medvedev 3 <1 <1 <1 1
Mironov 1 1 1 1 1
Prokhorov 4 1 1 1 <1
Other 4 2 1 2 2

This seems very bad for “Alexey 2 Percent,” as he was just styled by the great Paul Robinson.

On the one hand, he is certainly correct in his main point that one shouldn’t be rushing to buy the hype around Navalny generated by the Western media.

OTOH, I don’t think it’s quite as catastrophic for Navalny as the professor makes it out to be. For instance, in February 2012, (adjusted for non-voter’s/don’t knows) about 6% of Russians intended to vote for Prokhorov. In the event, he got 8%, which would have been closer to 9% without electoral fraud.

Of perhaps greater relevance, Levada and VCIOM opinion polls were giving the Kremlin-backed candidate Sobyanin about 70% versus 9-13% for Navalny in the Moscow mayoral election of 2013. In the event, Sobyanin only narrowly avoided a second round with 51% to Navalny’s 27%.

navalny-voting-intentionsEven more worrying for the Kremlin though is that the percentage of Russians saying they were “probably” or “definitely” going to vote for Navalny increased from the 5% level he enjoyed from March 2012 to February 2017 (i.e. encompassing the period of the Moscow elections) to 10% in March 2017 following the release of the Medvedev corruption video.

Now just to make it clear I am not implying that Navalny is any sort of serious electoral threat to Putin – at least for now. In particular, the President’s ratings are at a consistent ~80% since Crimea, whereas during the 2012-13 period they were hovering at a nadir of ~60%.

Putin’s relatively greater popularily will, presumably, mostly or even wholly cancel out Navalny’s momentum.

And, of course, the question of whether Navalny will even be allowed to run is still an open one. Just a few hours ago a Russian court upheld the five year suspended sentence given to Navalny for the Kirovles Affair, which might be grounds for formally barring him from the Presidential race – though as in 2013, it is possible that it will not be enforced. Still, I’m not going to bet on that. Navalny is far more charismatic than Prokhorov, he is the only liberal candidate with a reasonable chance of making inroads into the (considerably bigger) nationalist electorate, and the recent attack on him by kremlin-affiliated thugs – which threatens to make him blind in one eye, if his own assertions are true – might create a martyr effect for him (as the murky dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko in 2004, which helped drive Ukrainians to stage the Orange Revolution). It would not be wise for the kremlins to risk a Navalny run.

One other very interesting, and even more interesting development, is the complete collapse of Zyuganov’s (Communist) support – he has gone from 13% in April 2013, to just 5% today; practically level pegging with the nationalist Zhirinovsky, who has also declined, but by a far more modest degree, despite losing part of his nationalist base to Putin after Crimea.

russia-elections-2016-party-support-age-groupAs I have long pointed out, the Red base of pensioners is dying out – there are three times fewer Communist voters in the youngest age group versus the oldest, whereas the LDPR’s share, conversely, doubles – and the demographics are now fast translating into electoral politics.

What this means in practice is that in the unlikely scenario that Navalny does run, I strongly suspect that he and Putin will between them compress the two fossils of Russian politics – that is, Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky – into the single digits, and will manage to come a distant second, perhaps 15% to Putin’s 70%.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. And yet here’s another poll, this time from VTsIOM:

    Asked who they had confidence in, people said (any number of answers allowed):

    48.7% – Putin
    16.1% – Medvedev
    15.8% – Shoigu
    13.7% – Lavrov
    11.2% – Zhirinovsky
    8.3% – Zyuganov
    3.2% – Mironov


    1.2% – Navalny

    Not exactly a huge vote of confidence in Navalny.

  2. inertial says

    Does Navalny get support from any actual nationalists? I understand that he is the kind of Russian nationalist who doesn’t recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

  3. Thanks. I don’t think it’s very strong evidence, though.

    600 person poll, asked via phone with 4% average response rate (who answers? not on average the sort of person with sympathies for or even knowledge about Navalny), question: Do you trust X to solve important state tasks?”, format: “Open answer, can cite any number of people.”

    Since Navalny isn’t in government, even if I was a hypothetical Navalny supporter, I wouldn’t necessarily think of mentioning him when asked about who I woud trust to solve “important state tasks.”

  4. (1) Yes, but not many of them. I would estimate 10% firm supporters and another 30% willing to consider him if he meets them halfway (which he shows no signs of doing).

    (2) He proposed holding a second referendum on Crimea under international observation.

    I had more about it here:

    Even though the pro-unification side will undoubtedly win under a fair vote, this will still functionally be a retreat from the Russian government’s position that the incorporation of Crimea is a fait accompli and non-negotiable. With Donbass unilaterally surrendered to the tender mercies of the anti-Russian regime in Kiev, the status of the peninsula will become a leverage point against Russia by a vengeful Ukraine, and possibly even by the West as a whole, if Navalny’s hoped for “reset” with Europe and the US doesn’t pan out.

  5. Felix Keverich says

    Let’s get real here: Navalny and his team are like less than 30 people in total. Kadyrov could get them abducted, put them in a dungeon somewhere – and that would be end of Russian maidan.

  6. LondonBob says

    What about Rifat Shaykhutdinov?

  7. Mao Cheng Ji says

    Since Navalny isn’t in government, even if I was a hypothetical Navalny supporter, I wouldn’t necessarily think of mentioning him when asked about who I woud trust to solve “important state tasks.”

    Actually, the opposite could be equally (or even more) convincing: since he is an outsider whose gig is corruption-fighting, and the government is (presumably) in the state of terminal corruption – then, for a hypothetical Navalny supporter, he is the only one who can be trusted to solve ‘important state tasks’…

  8. Navalny is overhyped media celebrity. Soap bubble. Modern public have two week attention span so he need to continiysly produse some shit and gigles for media or he will fall in to abiss to all other “interesting persons” where he belong. Because he has nothing.

  9. Hector_St_Clare says

    Good grief Zyuganov is a talentless hack. In a country with very high support for “state planning and distribution”, lots of distrust of the market, a high degree of nostalgia for the past, and leading a party that’s relatively free of the SJW nonsense that infects most of the western far left (I liked the KPRF comments about immigration last year) he still scrounges 8%.

    Maybe the KPRF should think about, in the short to medium term, forming a sort of red-brown coalition with the nationalists, supporting a nationalist candidate in exchange for concessions on economic policy and social spending. Anatoly what do you think about that? Since clearly the commies are too dysfunctional to do well in election on their own, in spite of some on-paper advantages, and since the youth trend nationalist.

  10. Mao Cheng Ji says

    Well, KPRF is just a garden variety center-left party. But at least they are immeasurably better than the so-called ‘Socialist’ (neoliberal) parties in Europe…

  11. The Kremlins would never allow this to happen. Browns and Reds are to be separate and distinct centers of power, and both must be loyal to the President. It could only be imaginable in the event that Putin were to suddenly leave the stage and the whole system would be thrown into turmoil.

  12. Hector_St_Clare says

    Well, Putin isn’t immortal, even if some of his fans would like him to be. What happens when he dies (either by natural death or, if some of his opponents would like to accelerate things, by unnatural death?)

  13. Since clearly the commies are too dysfunctional to do well in election on their own

    That is not quite true.
    In the last years, the KPRF managed to win elections in Irkutsk oblast as well as in Novosibirsk.

  14. Yevardian says

    Are you going to vote yourself Anatoly?
    Zhirinovsky is the only true choice. Осен.

  15. Yes, most likely, it will be Zhirinovsky.

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  18. Does Navalny get support from any actual nationalists? I understand that he is the kind of Russian nationalist who doesn’t recognize Crimea as part of Russia.


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