The next campaign of the head of the Samara Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mikhail Maryakhin, in the elections for the governor of the region turned into a crushing fiasco, which could be followed by the decline of not only his personal political career, but also the entire regional branch.
IN while the place of the “fourth force” instead of the “SR” can be taken by the “New People”, immediately catching up with the “old-timers” – the Socialist Revolutionaries.
The 2023 elections became the third gubernatorial campaign of Mikhail Maryakhin as chairman of the regional branch of the A Just Russia party in the Samara region. And, perhaps, the most disastrous. Because in the elections in 2014, for example, the Socialist Revolutionaries first nominated Maryakhin as a candidate for governor and only then made him head of the regional department. At that time, his political career was connected mostly with Tolyatti, where he headed the party branch and ran for mayor, so he had minimal fame and was little known to the voter. In this situation, the 1.13% of votes that Mikhail Maryakhin received in 2014 is a completely logical result.
Four years later, Maryakhin performed more confidently and received 2.62%, or 29,900 votes. True, this was only the fifth result, even the unknown candidate from the spoiler party of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation “Communists of Russia” Vitaly Kirsanov (4.03%) beat the Right Russia. Moreover, the gap from the outsider of the 2018 gubernatorial race – the candidate from the “Party of Pensioners” Galina Baranova – was only 635 votes, or 0.06%.
After another five years, being an outsider almost became the lot of Mikhail Maryakhin himself. The chief law enforcement officer of the Samara region managed, as they say, to avoid ending up at the bottom. Exactly 100 votes determined the outcome of the “fight” for fourth and fifth places. In the last elections, Maryakhin received 22,635 votes, or 1.75%, and Sergei Pukhaev from New People received 22,535 votes, or 1.74%. Moreover, the voting results show that outside of Tolyatti, where he gained more than 3%, Maryakhin still remains a little-known figure for voters.
Another thing is businessman Sergei Pukhaev from the New People party. This gubernatorial campaign became the debut for both him and the regional branch of the party, represented in the Samara region only by the deputy of the provincial Duma Roman Markarov and his colleague in the State Duma Vladimir Plyakin. Pukhaev behaved rather passively during the election campaign, so more than 22.5 thousand votes can be considered a fantastic result for a newcomer to the political struggle. At the same time, Sergei Pukhaev received special recognition in Samara, where he had 2.44%, or more than 11 thousand votes.
According to experts, Mikhail Maryakhin’s loss is a completely expected result, which can be explained by several factors. Firstly, an inertial approach to political activity, which, however, was demonstrated by almost all opposition candidates. Secondly, there was general fatigue from the A Just Russia party, which was unable to rebuild and transform itself after uniting with the For Truth party. “A Just Russia, with their general image confusion, has serious problems with the strength of the party brand. A large-scale unification with the “For Truth” party was supposed to inject new strength and meaning into the dilapidated “SR”, but instead the Socialist Revolutionaries remained a party of petty-bourgeois capitalists who were unable or did not want to change. Plus an overly radical position on special operations. All this has reduced their real support not only in the Samara region, but throughout Russia,” says analyst Ruslan Rudnev.
Indeed, A Just Russia has become the main loser of the 2023 elections. The party lost seats in six of the 16 legislative assemblies and was able to collect more than 10% of the vote in only one region. In addition, in none of the regions were the gubernatorial candidates from the Socialist Revolutionaries able to even claim second place. Chairman of SR Sergei Mironov, speaking at a press conference following the results of a single voting day, said that “an unprecedented attempt was made to completely eliminate the party from the political arena,” and promised a “debriefing” regarding the failure in the elections. Up to and including removal from the post of chairman of the regional branch council.
However, the leader of the Ivanovo Right Russia party, Pavel Popov, who did not get into the regional parliament, did not wait for a menacing shout from the party’s central committee and resigned, declaring that his political career was over. Will the head of the Samara Socialist Revolutionaries, Mikhail Maryakhin, follow his example? Hardly. Moreover, Maryakhin himself doesn’t seem to be going anywhere…
Experts predict the final decline of the history of the regional branch of the A Just Russia party, which once showed noticeable results in elections, and its leader Viktor Tarkhov even became the mayor of Samara. Whereas the New People party, as experts believe, actually has electoral prospects in the political field. “The place of the “fourth force” after United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal Democratic Party is now occupied by “New People”. They have taken over voters who want to vote, but do not want to vote either for the party of the current government or for the communists with “Zhirinovsky’s falcons”. Where is the place for the Socialist Revolutionaries?” — argues political scientist Daniil Komakhidze.
SERGEY PUKHAEV, financial director of Kuibyshevskaya Road PMK LLC, former candidate for governor of the Samara region
— How do you personally assess your first gubernatorial campaign?
— Objectively, I won’t lie, I was counting on more. I also understood perfectly well that I most likely would not be able to win. But the work doesn’t end. And, in fact, the goal of my election campaign was not to take a specific place, but to achieve results and implement the ideas that I voiced in my election program. I have made myself known, become more recognizable and now intend to work more in politics rather than in business.
— What did this campaign mean for the New People party in the Samara region?
“Both I and the party members are sane people.” They understood perfectly well that the probability of my victory, a person who appeared in politics three months before the elections, was not very high. It was a statement about the party, its political program, as well as a reminder of itself. And again, this is all within the framework of party work with voters. In fact, 22 thousand people voted for the “New People” program. With such a resource, it is much easier to propose bills that address the issues raised.
— Policy Department