Navalny’s ‘Smart Vote’ for the win? Politicians and political analysts disagree about the impact of a new strategic voting campaign in Russia

Following elections on September 8, nearly half of the Moscow City Duma — 20 of 45 seats — now belong to members of the “systemic opposition” (registered parties and candidates that ostensibly oppose the ruling party, United Russia). Before the elections, anti-corruption, “non-systemic” oppositionist Alexey Navalny launched a special initiative called “Smart Vote,” designed to rally support for the registered candidates in each precinct with the best chance of defeating United Russia’s picks. With the results in hand, Navalny calls his experiment in “strategic voting” a “fantastic victory,” and he promises to use Smart Vote again in future elections. The candidates who actually won Sunday’s races, however, say it’s difficult to gauge the real impact of Navalny’s initiative.