Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




The Results of Russia’s 2021 Parliamentary Elections: How Should We Understand Them?

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Join us for a meeting of the New York-Russia Public Policy Series, co-hosted by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University and the New York University Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia. In this first event of the academic year, our panelists will discuss the results and importance of Russia’s Duma elections for parliament held on September 19, 2021.

The ruling United Russia party is widely expected to maintain its majority in Parliament, even though it is was polling at its lowest level of support among Russian voters in over a decade prior to the vote. At the same time, the Russian government has been accused of cracking down on prominent members of the political opposition—including anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny and members of his network—as well as weakening the capacity of domestic watchdogs to monitor the election. A cross-professional panel of leading scholars of Russian domestic politics and journalists will discuss these controversies and likely repercussions of the vote.

This event is supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.



Jake Cordell, Business Reporter at The Moscow Times
Felix Light, Reporter at The Moscow Times
Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Professor of Political Science at Russia Institute, King’s College London
Regina Smyth, Professor of Political Science at Indiana University
David Szakonyi, Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University; co-founder of the Anti-Corruption Data Collective

Moderated by:
Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Joshua Tucker, Director of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, New York University



Jake Cordell is a reporter covering the Russian economy and business world for The Moscow Times. Originally from the U.K., he previously worked in London as an economics correspondent, and in Prague for an organization supporting independent media and civil society across the former Soviet Union. Twitter: @JakeCordell



Felix Light is a reporter covering politics, culture and society in Russia and the former Soviet Union for The Moscow Times. Outside work, he enjoys history, languages and yoga. Twitter: @felix_light




Gulnaz Sharafutdinova is Professor of Political Science at Russia Institute, King’s College London. She pursues research on issues of post-communist political economy, authoritarianism and social psychology with a specific focus on Russia. She has previously worked at Miami University, Ohio. She is the author of The Red Mirror: Putin’s Leadership and Russia’s Insecure Identity (2020) and Political Consequences of Crony Capitalism Inside Russia (2010). Sharafutdinova is currently working on a new book, The Afterlife of the ‘Soviet Man’: Rethinking Homo Sovieticus.

Regina Smyth is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. Her primary research interest is in the dynamics of state-society relations in transitional and electoral authoritarian regimes. She has written extensively on political development in the Russian Federation, including her recent book Elections, Protest, and Authoritarian Regime Stability: Russia 2008–2020 (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Her research, largely based on original data collection and analysis, has been funded by the National Science Foundation, International Research and Exchanges Board, US – Russia Foundation, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the National Security Education Program, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Russian and East European Center, Ostrom Workshop, Department of Political Science, and College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University. At Indiana University she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on comparative politics, protest movements, and Russian politics.

David Szakonyi is Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and co-founder of the Anti-Corruption Data Collective. His academic research focuses on corruption, clientelism, and political economy in Russia, Western Europe, and the United States. He has led numerous investigations into political corruption and opacity in the private equity and real estate industries, which have been published in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, the Daily Beast, and the Miami Herald, among other outlets. In addition, he is a Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.


Event Video