Lyudmila Alexeeva: human rights activist, Chairperson of Moscow Helsinki Group, Soviet dissident
"I have a feeling that this election will be different from the previous one, but not because something has changed among the authorities. The authorities, unfortunately, will continue to strive for the victory of the United Russia party. But if before you had people saying that they cannot affect the situation and are helpless, now they are angry. People no longer respect their own state. And I'm not the only one who sees this.
In August, the Levada Center published the following survey data: 64 percent of respondents said they do not trust the State Duma (the Russian lower house) and United Russia, 58 percent disapproved of the current deputies' activities, 19 percent said they were more or less satisfied with them, and only 1 percent were completely satisfied. Moreover, 55 percent said that authorities were concerned only with their own well-being, and only 12 percent described them as a good team of politicians who are leading the country in the right direction.
These elections will be rigged just like the previous ones. Here's some more data: In 2011, 62 percent of respondents said that the 2007 elections were rigged in favor of United Russia.
But waiting for decisive action of the kind we saw in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia is impossible in such a large multi-ethnic country as Russia.
Even if these next elections go the way authorities want them to, I doubt that the ones afterward will follow the same recipe. Something will happen in the interim. The regime won't necessarily fall, but one thing is clear: By forcing the desired result for the parliamentary and presidential elections, Putin will not be able to feel and rule the same way as in the previous presidency. He will have to have more consideration for the people."