Russia Elections 2018: VCIOM Predictions Market

I am not aware of any active Russian political predictions markets, apart from “Will Vladimir Putin be president of Russia at the end of 2018?” at PredictIt (currently at 93% FWIW).

I suppose there are three main reasons for this:

  1. Interesting American fads only reach Russia with a lag time of several times, if they ever do.

  2. Russian politics is predictable. Sure, Putin will win. OTOH, predicting things such as the turnout rate, or Zhirinovsky’s share of the vote, or whether or not Navalny spends more than 80 days in jail in 2018, could still be pretty fun.

  3. Legal obstructions. Online betting is highly restricted in Russia (e.g. I can’t even access Oddschecker without a VPN).

Furthermore, political predictions market would seem to be outright banned by Article 56, part 3 of the Russian elections law of 2003, which forbids “lotteries and other risk based games” where the winning of prizes depends on the results of the elections.

Even so, VCIOM has opened a predictions market, apparently skirting the law because they don’t take money from any of the participants and thus fail to qualify as a lottery or risk-based game.


Here are the current predictions: Putin – 72%, Grudinin – 11%, Zhirinovsky – 10%, Sobchak – 2%, with turnout pegged at 65%.

Activity seems to be very low, so I don’t think this market is informationally worth much.

On the same website subsection as the predictions market, VCIOM has also released more detailed polls in terms of electoral socio-demographics, which confirm many of the observations I have long made on Russian politics.

(In the following charts: Blue = Putin; Yellow = Zhirinovsky; Pink = Grudinin; Gray = Sobchak; Green = Yavlinsky; Blue = Titov).


Just for orientation: If the elections were to be held on the next Sunday, around 73% would vote for Putin.


Female political conformism: As in the FOM poll, Putin scores much better with women (~78%) than with men (~68%), whereas both the Communist and nationalist candidate score twice better amongst the men, if from a low base.


Old communists, young nationalists: Also as in the FOM poll, the 18-24 year olds are giving Zhirinovsky around 10% to Grudinin’s 5%, while the 60+ year olds are giving 10% to Grudinin and almost nothing to Zhirinovsky.

Some other observations:

Employment: As is an old-established pattern, state workers (~75%) support Putin more than workers in the private sector (~70%).

Location: As usual, residents of Moscow and Saint-Petersburg are the least pro-Putin (~68%), relative to residents of large cities (~70%), small cities (~75), and rural areas (close to 80%).

Income: People with the lowest incomes are significantly more likely to vote for Zhirinovsky, presumably because they tend to the young (more nationalist) and the unemployed.

Anti-rating: Sobchak has by far the highest.

In other Russian elections news, Navalny is planning to lead his flock to a new series of protest meetings tomorrow (Jan 28) in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. I don’t expect anything interesting to happen either now or before the elections in general. Navalny will be arrested, probably before he shows up, and will spend a fortnight in jail. 200 people will get arrested. Turnout will not exceed 10,000, the maximum (realistic) estimate for turnout at the last protests on Tverskaya in March 2017. I probably won’t bother showing up to cover the event.

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. There is a prediction market at Hypermind ( with the question

    In March 2018, will Vladimir Putin be reelected president of Russia with at least 70% of the vote and 70% participation ?

    Currently trading at a mid-price of 35% with a spread of +/- 2%.

  2. Thanks. I would put the chances of this at 10%.

    Putin will almost certainly get more than 70%, but turnout will very likely be below 70%. Pretty much the only way to get >70% turnout this year is to go way overboard with the electoral fraud.

  3. Also as in the FOM poll, the 18-24 year olds are giving Zhirinovsky around 10% to Grudinin’s 5%, while the 60+ year olds are giving 10% to Grudinin and almost nothing to Zhirinovsky.

    Actually, Grudinin’s rating was only second to Putin amongthe youngest voters.

    Возраст 18-24 года

    Grudinin: 6,2%
    Zhirinovsky: 5,2%

    Возраст – 60 лет и старше

    Grudinin: 8,9%
    Zhirinovsky: 1,8%

    By the way, that should interest you.
    Results of the last German federal election which shows how many men and women, youngsters and oldsters voted and for whom.

    It does confirm female political conformism by showing that Merkel’s parties and the Greens got more votes from women than from men.

  4. AnonFromTN says

    Anon from TN
    It’s hard to argue with facts: Putin will get roughly two thirds majority, no matter how you count. He does not need any fraud, as in an honest and transparent elections he is going to get greater traction of the popular vote than any Western politician ever got.
    However, I think it’s instructive to put these facts in the historic context. Just 6 years ago, in 2012, Putin’s victory was a lot less certain. Many people found his internal polices, I.e., the protection of the big thieves looting state assets, abhorrent. His last (at that point) victory in the foreign policy, the Georgian war of 2008, where Russia stood up for the Ossetians brutally attacked by the Georgian forces, and was not scared by promised US support to Georgia (which never materialized, like most US promises), was fading from memory. Mass Bolotnaya protests were not just the fifth column, they reflected genuine disaffection of the people in the regime (while scum like Navalny was always for sale to the highest bidder, Udaltsov was honest; he still is).
    And then the US and its vassals made a strategic blunder: organized a coup in Ukraine in 2014, using Nazis as storm troopers and bringing to power the worst scum Ukraine had to offer. First, Russia took Crimea back. Crimea tried to get out of Ukraine many times since the breakup of the USSR in 1991, and finally in 2014, as Crimean people put it, Russia did not betray them. This immediately raised Putin’s popularity in Russia, and misguided “sanctions” added further points in his favor internally. Crimea is a huge unsinkable aircraft carrier controlling the whole Black Sea. Using weapons stationed there Russia can blow any enemy ship out of the water, and even make Bosporus much wider than it is within minutes. Second, Ukrainian coup showed Russians what happens when you overthrow the ruler under the instigation of the West. The memories of the dismal 1990s flooded their awareness, and a lot of people decided that Putin, warts and all, is much preferable to another Western puppet. Third, downward spinal of the remainder of Ukraine showed Russians that tribal nationalism can ruin any country, so the support for Russian nationalists nosedived (and never recovered).
    Putin can thank ham-handed US elites and their clueless vassals for his current overwhelming support in Russia. As Russians joke now, Obama should be awarded a medal “For the liberation of Crimea”.

  5. Russian nationalist mythology about Ukraine is strong with this one.

  6. AnonFromTN says

    Anon from TN
    I wonder, are you literate? Can you actually read? One of the greatest boons for Russia from the Ukrainian coup was the death of Russian nationalism.

  7. Reading appears to be overrated in your case.

  8. AnonFromTN says

    Anon from TN
    Sorry to disappoint, but one of the sure signs of a Ukie troll is the tendency to insult the opponent instead of presenting arguments. It is widely known that engaging in conversations with fish or Ukie trolls is totally useless. Adios!

  9. You insulted first, so is your comment a confession?

    Guy acts like a total troll, is called on it, and feels insulted.

  10. VCIOM prediction markets are at least two years old, very low volume and predictably not very predictive besides the obvious. I predict that Grudinin will get at least 30% more than Zhirik.

  11. I am not sure if you are troll or just can’t read

  12. You are the one who claimed that Ukraine had once been the richest and most industrialized republic in the USSR.

    So, you are another naive consumer of banal Russian nationalist mythology.

  13. AnonFromTN says

    Anon from TN
    Could be both. Ukie “political analysts” nowadays follow the State Department script, trying to prove that two times two makes five and a half. However, in contrast to their cynical American counterparts, Ukies sincerely believe this. Thus, an absolute requirement for the job of a “political analyst” in Ukraine is clinically low IQ. Trolls are even lower in the feeding chain, as they are supposed to repeat the BS spewed by the “political analysts” uncritically.

  14. Says someone naive enough to believe in a “coup,” that Ukraine’s economy is still spiraling downward, that Ukraine was once the wealthiest and most industrialized Soviet republic, and other nonsense someone filled your poor little mind with.

  15. AnonFromTN says

    Anon from TN
    I say this once, not for your benefit, but for the benefit of honest readers. I was born in Western Ukraine, in Lvov (Nazi “patriots” gasp at this point), and I speak Ukrainian (both the literary Ukrainian and one of the Western Ukrainian dialects spoken in Lvov area) better than most “patriots”. What’s more, I read a lot of Ukrainian literature (in sharp contrast to current “patriots” who can hardly read Ukrainian). I also grew up in Lugansk, and my Ukrainian teacher loved me, because I was the only kid in a class of 40+ students there who could speak proper Ukrainian. I have friends and relatives in Lvov, Kiev, Kharkov, and Lugansk, so I know the reality not from propaganda, but from the people I can trust. Anyone can also look up stats on the Web and find for him/herself that Ukrainian economy keeps going down ever since 1991. Ukrainian “leaders” expressed it perfectly: the first president Kravchuk said that in five years Ukrainians will live like in France. The second president Kuchma said that in ten years Ukrainians will live like in Poland. Finally, then governor of Odessa region (failed Georgian president) Saakashvili said that if Ukraine develops successfully, in 20 years people will live like under Yanukovych. I also know that millions of Ukrainians work in Russia and Poland, and millions more want to run the heck out of that sinking country. I had two nephews in Ukraine, and both did not want to be drafted to fight for the interests of greedy Ukrainian oligarchs. Now one lives in Russia and the other in Netherlands. As a Ukrainian I deeply resent what the current and previous scum did to the country.

  16. Ha.

    In that case, for the benefit of readers, so they see the level of honesty of anon in TN with relatives all over Ukraine:

    Anyone can also look up stats on the Web and find for him/herself that Ukrainian economy keeps going down ever since 1991.

    Let’s compare your claim to reality.

    GDP per capita PPP:

    Stagnant compared to Russia, but clearly higher than in 1991. $5,510 1991, $8,272 2016 (a bit higher in 2017)

    GDP per capita nominal:

    Ups and downs, lower than in 1991 but higher than in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    So when you say – “I have friends and relatives in Lvov, Kiev, Kharkov, and Lugansk, so I know the reality not from propaganda, but from the people I can trust” we know what it is worth.

    I had two nephews in Ukraine, and both did not want to be drafted to fight for the interests of greedy Ukrainian oligarchs.

    And my cousin, when mobilized by the state, performed his duty for his country.

    Different families have different views of honor, of course.

    As a Ukrainian I deeply resent what the current and previous scum did to the country

    As a Luhansker you are no longer a Ukrainian. Ukraine is better off.

  17. No, he is actually correct – adjusted for inflation (the USD is hardly standing still; you need to fix it to a date), the Ukraine is still considerably below its Soviet era peak (Russia is modestly above it, and Poland is way above it).

    With all the usual caveats about the comparability of numbers between centrally planned and free market economies.

    Different families have different views of honor, of course. And different positions on what constitutes a “just war,” too.

  18. No, he is actually correct

    He claimed –

    “Ukrainian economy keeps going down ever since 1991”

    It actually went back up after reaching its low point at the end of the 90s. It has certainly not been a constant decline since 1991.

    The chart you linked to contradicts anon from TN’s other myth – that Ukraine was the wealthiest republic in the USSR. Its per capita GDP PPP was half that of Russia’s in 1990.

  19. Ah, right. In that case you’re correct of course.

  20. Thanks. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military redevelopment proceeds apace:

  21. reiner Tor says

    Orbán should buy Ukrainian weapons for the military. I spoke to former Hungarian military officers (until the late nineties), and they said they preferred former Soviet sphere weapons because they were usually easier and cheaper to maintain, and for the corrupt Hungarian military buying western weapons usually meant they made the purchase, but then they didn’t set aside money to train with them or maintain them properly, because they were expensive and the money was either stolen or not allocated in the first place. With cheaper and easier to maintain former Soviet sphere weapons this was less of a problem.

    Since buying Russian weapons for a NATO member is out of the question, while Ukraine might be eager to sell weapons, I’d prefer buying Ukrainian weapons. It might also help repair our relations with Ukraine.

  22. That was an anti-ship missile (Sevastopol would be within range, from launch sites within Odesa oblast) but Ukraine has also developed this thing:

    The Saudis are paying for the development of a new ballistic missile, that Ukraine will then use for itself as well as export to Saudi Arabia.

  23. There are many weapons. Hungary has basically no armored forces, could use T-84s. You produce APCs as well. A short range AA missile system is under joint development with Poland. (Though maybe we have something like that?) Ukraine is capable of producing helicopters, I think. I’m sure a lot of things could be purchased.