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Clientelistic Appeals in the Election Programs of the United Russia Party in Russian Regional Parliamentary Elections in 2015-2019

Student: Mariya Kuzmina

Supervisor: Anna A. Dekalchuk

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Political Science and World Politics (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

There is no consensus on the role of election programs in the electoral process within academic community. On the one hand, manifestos are seen as an important source of information describing the intentions and goals of the party. If party wins elections, these goals and intentions are supposed to become the basis of the policy. Moreover, mandate theory and its supporters claim that pre-electoral programs are an intermediary between the party and the voters, since the latter vote according to the issued discussed in the manifestos. On the other hand, voters usually do not read pre-electoral programs. What is more, not all the electoral programs can be found in the public access. This thesis is aimed to analyze the pre-electoral programs of the United Russia party during the regional parliamentary elections 2015 - 2019. We are looking for clientelistic appeals in those programs, as far as we assume that the number of appeals may depend on a number of socio-economic characteristics of the region, which will indicate a programs’ significance for the pre-electoral campaign process. However, a quantitative study with the construction of Poisson, Quasi-poisson, and Negative binomial regressions revealed that only 2 independent variables out of 5 are significant. Moreover, there is volatility in model estimates, which led us to conclusion that there is little connection between the characteristics of the region and the number of clientelistic appeals. These results, as well as the absence of some programs in the public domain, demonstrate the insignificant role of regional election programs.

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