In 2018, Russia will face regular elections. However, the low level of electoral activity of Russians in elections is a constant of the current stage of development of civil society institutions. The percentage of citizens who have an active electoral right and who have used it during the conduct of a single voting day is not more than 46,25% of the total number of citizens who have an active electoral right from year to year. At the same time, there is a paradox in Russian society based on a disagreement on the significance of elections in a democratic society and the real level of participation in the electoral process. This statement is illustrated by the results of a survey conducted by Levada Center before the single voting day of 14 September 2014: 63% of citizens consider the popular elections of deputies and governors to be a necessary political process, but the actual turnout at the polling stations was less than 50%.
“All to the polls!” The best information is comparative. Let's look at the posters before the 1991 of the year and those that appeared after.
Elections of deputies of the State Duma in 2016, unlike the previous elections of 2011, were neither scandalous, nor sensational by results, or the ability to radically change the socio-economic situation in Russia. But they demonstrated a new model of behavior of voters that has become a reality for Russia, that is, a model of electoral behavior. We will call it the term "model of electoral impotence."
A deliberate refusal to implement the active electoral right by the electorate and a low voter turnout is currently a pan-European trend, and the Russian Federation is no exception. This situation may be due to various reasons, but we will turn to one aspect: the implementation of electoral PR strategies by the main parties over the past 20 years.
The types and types of PR strategies used by the parties in electoral periods underwent significant changes based on the actual political situation. In the strategies of the parties of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the LDPR in 1990, one can see an emphasis on the social type, an appeal to various categories of citizens, to social problems. In 2000, these same parties at various times relied on the image of the leader and on the mass character of the campaign material. However, as a result, they failed to exceed their own 1990 rating. On the other hand, the United Russia party, assembled piecemeal from the warring blocs of the end of 1990, has surprisingly quickly become the ruling party, and its position is not inferior even now. Given this fact, we can conclude that the electoral PR strategy of the party is victorious. The basis of this strategy is an administrative resource, but this does not mean that it is the only means by which a party can achieve leading positions. On the one hand, imperceptible, on the other - the continuous PR campaign of “United Russia” operates not only during electoral periods, but goes far beyond their limits, which causes a significant cumulative effect. The all-Russian United Russia party has been evolving since the beginning of 2000 within the framework of two strategic approaches. 2003 year - social approach, solution of social problems (Chechen war), 2007 year - the electorate votes for the president, not the party (“image strategy”), 2011 year - again image strategy dominates (“reliability and stability”). It is noteworthy that, despite the expansion of the means and forms of PR influence, United Russia highlights the most significant aspects of the work and partially ignores the opportunities presented by the state for campaigning, and also ignores pre-election communication with other election participants.
If we look at the cross-analysis of the presidential elections in the Russian Federation, then the evolution of strategies in generalized terms will take the following form.
Evolution of presidential election PR strategies in the Russian Federation
Election Year B.N. Yeltsin
1991 Social (image of "savior")
1996 Social (activization of the youth electorate)
2000 Image (image "hero", "savior")
2008 Weak-social (baseline - continuity)
2012 Image ("a person who knows what to do")
As a result of the analysis, we summarize that during the electoral periods of 1991-2012, the general evolution of presidential PR strategies has taken place, from the dominant social strategy to the combination of all elements of all kinds of image-based strategies. In the presidential election of the 20 years under study, a single line of succession can be traced. The system of transfer of power from the current president to his successor (Yeltsin - Putin, Putin - Medvedev) and the support of the candidate approved by the electorate became widespread in the Russian election system.
Victory presidential campaigns, as a rule, used an image strategy, relying on the personality of the candidate and the attitude of the electorate towards him. Program statements and other rational characteristics had little influence on the decisions taken by voters, which reveals an analysis of promises during campaigning and the results of real political activity. However, the evolution of individual strategic elements is clearly visible here. In 1996, it is difficult to say that B. Yeltsin won thanks to the image formed - “screen”; in this campaign, the emphasis was placed on raising the inactive electorate and grouping the electoral core from the youth. Thus, in the absence of a direct appeal to the image of the candidate, but within the framework of the image strategy, all three of the current presidents have a dynamic of supporting points of PR - support (social groups and their interests).
The second component of PR planning during the period of electoral communication, which we singled out earlier, is the definition of a PR campaign model based on an assessment of the resource potential. Analyzing the electoral process in the Russian Federation from 1991 to 2012, it is possible to identify the following used models: market model (“Democratic Choice of Russia”), administrative-command model (“United Russia”), organizational-party model (KPRF, LDPR), complex model (presidential campaign of B. Yeltsin). The most pronounced and stable model in the dynamics of its components from 2003 to 2011 in the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation is demonstrated by the United Russia party during three electoral periods. Having won elections to the State Duma in 2003 by actively using the media, correctly building and using the image of the main party leader, with extensive involvement of the administrative resource, United Russia during the next two elections (2007 and 2011) only adjusted its strategy, aimed primarily at maintaining the parliamentary status of their party.
Electoral models in the PR strategy of the United Russia party (2003 - 2011)
Election year Model campaign Image leader Basic ideology
2003 Party model with market elements
Image of the leader V. Putin - the image of the "Savior", is built using the method of detuning
2007 Administrative Team Model, Soft Method
Image of the leader V. Putin - image of the “Leader”, “father of the people”
State stance, opposing oneself to more radical parties
2011 Administrative Team Model, Rigid Method
Image of the leaders: D. Medvedev - a responsive statesman, V. Putin personifies strong power
In general, it can be said that the evolution of the party’s electoral strategy was situational in nature — the party’s programs changed, the image was adjusted, but the basic principles for building the 2003 election campaign were maintained. Its main resource is real power. This model is characterized by high pre-election activity. The success of the party is achieved through interest in the victory of the power vertical, conducting propaganda activities, with the support of these events with financial resources.
The third component of planning a PR campaign and forming a PR strategy is an information interaction strategy. It can be noted that if the increase in the effectiveness of mediated electoral communication in stable democracies was associated with changes in communication technologies, then there are almost no institutional barriers in the transitional systems for communication electoral impact. Weak political parties and undeveloped civil society structures are not able to provide equal access to media for competitors during election campaigns. The danger of the monopolization of the main media channels by the elites that came to power is quite real. It is obvious that this kind of influence of the media on the mass consciousness is carried out in a non-competitive environment. As foreign and domestic studies, including regional ones, show, in the long run, such media policy undermines voters' trust in messages of mass communication channels even more than negative political advertising in stable democracies.
We also note that the cumulative effect takes place in the informational influence on the mass political consciousness: the influence of the media becomes more noticeable if it is multichannel and long-lasting. These sociological studies of national and regional election campaigns 1999 - 2003. suggest that, in general, about two thirds of the respondents fixed one or another impact of the media on their electoral behavior, and 10 - 20% - recognized it as decisive. Based on these and a number of other trends in Russian electoral practice, it is possible to conclude that when explaining electoral behavior, those theoretical PR models that are based on studies of the effects of mediated mass communication look most convincing. Moreover, media technologies have begun to be considered today as one of the main mechanisms for the reproduction of the existing socio-political system. Since the influence of the media has a cumulative effect, their prolonged and multi-channel impact determines not only the corresponding activity vector of the electorate, but also the legitimization of the existing political order as a whole. And this, in turn, is connected with the trust or distrust of voters in relation to the media. Studies show that the formation of media effects during the election campaigns in the Russian Federation is influenced by a number of features. First, a significant degree of monopolization of the Russian media. Secondly, a high level of public confidence (in the mass) in information reported through official channels. According to research conducted by VTsIOM (2013 year), there are two sources of information leading in terms of public confidence: television (60% of respondents trust information received through this channel) and the Internet (22%). Thirdly, the state-owned electronic mass media that dominate in their coverage remain for voters almost the only channel of electoral information, which, given the level of public confidence in them, gives a significant advantage to candidates and parties "from power", especially when using the resources of the administrative-command model communications. Fourthly, there is a clear bias in the activities of the Russian media in the direction of manipulation, as a last resort, of informing and there is no motivation of the electorate to raise consciousness and competence, the formation of an “inclusive potential” - conditions for conscious and active electoral action.
Proper definition of the strategy of interaction with the media will allow the candidate to pursue a rational information policy with minimal financial costs.
In this aspect, a number of activities can be distinguished:
- the formation of ideological dominants;
- identification of preferred channels of information communication;
- formation of its own information flow;
- overlap of the information flow of competitors;
- formation of a journalistic pool.
If we refer to the results achieved by the parties in the period under consideration, we can come to a number of conclusions. Due to the special situation in the election period of the last 10 years, the United Russia party has achieved the greatest success in terms of information about the efficient and effective use of PR. A personal information flow was formed, defining the image, the “face” of the party in the eyes of the electorate. When submitting information, the most common in political PR reception of SCP is used - a unique political proposal, which is based on the fact that most of the arguments are not for reason, but for feelings (in this case, a sense of respect and trust for the leaders and supporters of the party). The party in question has reached the highest level in establishing an information partnership, a priority supply of information to the mass media — the citation in the United Russia press is more than twice as good as the other parties. Television defines the main communication tool in the United Russia election race, which is an obvious preference from the point of view of exposure audience. The election results of the decade are a pronounced manifestation of the previously described cumulative effect associated with the monopolization of the media in the state. However, by 2012 the media rating of United Russia is noticeably reduced, the greatest failure is noted in the field of Internet communication.
For the Communist Party, the most frequently used venues are Interfax, AiF, International Press Club, and Mir News”, Central House of Journalists. However, all these are mainly private entities that do not have a state share in the authorized capital. As for the state-controlled information platforms, the situation here is not the best: ITAR-TASS and RIA-Novosti took a principled stand in relation to the Communist Party, refusing to invite party representatives as newsmakers. For the Communist Party there are both "friendly" media (these usually include patriotic publications: the newspapers "Pravda", "Soviet Russia", "Tomorrow", as well as part of the regional press.), And they are clearly hostile. The “main party newspaper” of the Communist Party is the Pravda newspaper, the party’s official journal is Political Education. Other close communists are considered to be the publication "Soviet Russia", which, however, calls itself an "independent national newspaper." In addition, the Communist Party has its own print media in each regional branch of the party. Now the Communist Party has a kind of information kit for campaigning: its own website, with constantly updated content; accounts in social networks; photo, video and printed material; promotional products; own print media; regular coverage of online media. However, the use of these funds does not provide the party with the necessary results of increasing the electorate, which is recorded by the election results with approximately the same percentage of voters for the Communist Party.
LDPR as the most effective form of agitation uses videos. According to research by the Levada Center of the LDPR, along with United Russia, viewers are leaders: almost half of Russians (by 47%) saw them. Also the second place of the Liberal Democratic Party retains the attractiveness and approval of video materials (27%). The party has accounts in all popular social networks in Russia (Facebook, Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte, Mail.ru, Twitter). In 2011 under the patronage of the party, the LDPR-tube Internet project was created and is being successfully implemented.
Thus, over the 20 years of uninterrupted activity of political consultants in PR campaigns, one can clearly trace the dynamics of the strategies and tactics chosen to promote a particular political entity.
If at the beginning of 1990, both the parties and the presidential candidates tried to express their exclusivity, the difference from the existing, the newness of their views and approaches, the image of the future, in 2000 the main emphasis is on stability, confidence, reliability, and verification. The types and types of PR strategies used by the parties in electoral periods have undergone significant changes based on a plastic social, political, informational reality. In the strategies of the parties of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the LDPR in 1990, one can see an emphasis on the social type, an appeal to various categories of citizens, to social problems. In 2000, the United Russia party consolidated its position by conducting inter-electoral information campaigns, displacing competitors from the political information field, ignoring political debates during the active electoral period, using the resources of the administrative-command model. However, despite the competent and professional use of PR technologies, which provide sustainable intangible capital in the form of the reputation and trust of the electorate, this resource is not unlimited. The 2011-2013 years showed a rapid decline in the ratings of United Russia and its leader Dmitry Medvedev. According to research conducted by VTsIOM, FOM, the RAGS social center, under the president, the level of trust in it varies within 39-40%, and anti-rating reaches 44%. Let's see what will happen in Russia this time!