Happy days for managed democracy. Sources say the Kremlin welcomes recent election results, and Russia’s ruling political party lives to fight another day

Multiple sources close to Russia’s presidential administration told Meduza that the Kremlin is happy with pro-government candidates’ performance in the September 8, 2019, elections. Officials are especially pleased in the State Council’s Department of Affairs, which is managed by Alexander Kharichev, a close associate of Sergey Kiriyenko, President Putin’s deputy chief of staff and “domestic policy curator.” Responsible for overseeing Russia’s gubernatorial races, Kharichev’s office had a clear task: don’t allow any second-round votes. The Kremlin was eager to avoid a repeat of 2018, when the Putin administration’s candidates couldn’t win first-round elections and lost runoffs in four gubernatorial contests — including elections in the strategically important Primorsky and Khabarovsk regions.