Social Movements, Elections, Ephemera Collections

If elections are the lifeblood of democratic societies, then political campaigns are the pulse.

For researchers, elections yield more than ballot results: artifacts from campaigns—leaflets, handbills, brochures, websites, and other transitory items—embody the prevailing collective political sentiment, ideals and values of a nation.

Perhaps nowhere else does this ring truer than in the 15 former republics of the USSR, where there is a mixed bag of fledgling democracies and authoritarian, corrupt regimes.

East View is leading the digital preservation and online availability of political ephemera and official results from recent election campaigns in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and South Ossetia.

Our new series -- Social Movements, Elections, Ephemera -- eliminates the need to acquire, catalog and shelve thousands of campaign materials that are fleeting by nature and challenging to obtain.

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Read an overview of East View's Social Movements, Elections and Ephemera project from our editor.
Country Title # of items # of pages Description
Parliamentary Election, 2017 21 49 The 2017 parliamentary elections held in the self-proclaimed Republic of Abkhazia on March 12 followed by a run-off on March 26. The elections took place against the background of the unresolved conflict with Georgia and in the context of the tense Georgia-Russia relations. Since Abkhazia is the self-proclaimed state, international organizations usually tasked with monitoring elections were absent. There were however observers from Russia and such de facto states as Nagorno Karabakh, South Ossetia, Donetsk People’s Republic etc. News reports from the region as well observations from East View researchers noted that the elections were generally peaceful with no major excesses marring the process.
Armenia Parliamentary Election, 2017 144 1,400 The Armenian parliamentary election took place on April 2, 2017 in an environment fraught with political tension. The Republican party had an advantage in money, power, and influence, but protests in Yerevan last year led to some worried about the outcome. East View researchers collected brochures, financial disclosures, leaflets and more at the height of the election campaign.
Armenia Presidential Election, 2013 100 1,500 The 2013 presidential election in Armenia were held on February 18 in a politically charged atmosphere. Although the conduct of the elections marked certain improvements over the elections of the previous years, both parliamentary and presidential, they nevertheless fell predictably short from western electoral standards. The election despite its predictable result saw some truly remarkable developments, the most significant of which was perhaps the overwhelming victory of the opposition candidate in the country’s second largest city. This collection includes the programs of the registered candidates, their financial disclosures, and other relevant documents and print material, giving researchers insight to reconstruct the scope and the breadth of the political debate in Armenia leading up to the elections.
Armenia Parliamentary Election, 2012 200 2,500 East View researchers in Yerevan and other Armenian cities collected thousands of pages of unique print materials, making this the most comprehensive collection of election related ephemera and primary source material documenting the Armenian parliamentary elections, held on May 6, 2012. Given the extensive use of print material by both opposition and establishment, the present collection of election ephemera provides an invaluable insight into Armenia's political landscape prior to and during the contentious elections.
Presidential Election, 2018 30 129 The 2018 Early Presidential Election in Azerbaijan took place on April 11, 2018. As was expected, the incumbent Ilham Aliyev won the elections without meeting much real opposition with majority of his political opponents either imprisoned or in exile. Accordingly, the main opposition political parties such as Musavat, Popular Front and ReAl, decrying the arbitrariness of the decision to initiate snap elections called for a boycott, the rigging of the elections being a foregone conclusion in their estimation.
Belarus Parliamentary Election, 2016 51 350 The September 11, 2016 Parliamentary Elections in Belarus were held in a combination of a challenging economic, security and foreign relations environment. The assessment by international observers on the process and the outcome of the elections were largely mixed, but there were positive developments: the electoral process is becoming more efficient and there was an increase in overall candidates. However, lack of transparency and vote counting irregularities remain.
Belarus Presidential Election, 2015 150 >1,200 The pardon and the subsequent release of six opposition politicians by President Lukashenko immediately prior to the elections was welcomed in European capitals, but the results of the Belarus Presidential election was a foregone conclusion. No other candidate was able to mount a serious challenge to the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko who would win the elections having garnered over 83% of all votes cast.
Belarus Parliamentary Election, 2012 20 55 The September 23, 2012 Parliamentary Elections in Belarus were notable for the fact that the majority of the opposition parties were absent from the ballot despite having campaigned in the weeks leading up to the elections. The reason for their absence was much as a result of a boycott announced a week prior to the elections, as it was the arbitrary legal strong-arming by the government, seen as yet another sign of President Alexander Lukashenko’s growing authoritarianism.
Belarus Presidential Election, 2010 150 1,000 The December 19, 2010 presidential election in Belarus received considerable attention around the world. After election results showed Aleksandr Lukashenko winning 80% of the vote, most of the presidential contenders were arrested and imprisoned by the regime.
Georgia Parliamentary Election, 2016 >200 >2500 The unceasing mutual recriminations by the country’s two leading parties was compounded by the underperforming economy and the fast-rising cost of living, creating a politically charged electoral environment. Despite these and similar challenges, however, the elections were assessed by international observers to be free and fair.
Georgia Presidential Election, 2013 45 739 The October 27, 2013 Presidential Election in Georgia were held in a political atmosphere that was highly charged, the result of years-long acrimony between the Mikheil Saakashvili led United National Movement and the opposition coalition led by the Georgian Dream party of Bidzina Ivanishvili. The 2013 election thus was a further solidification of the democratic processes in the country, which has fared far better on democratic governance indicators compared to its Southern Caucasus neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan. The present database includes flyers, leaflets, political programs, and various other ephemera by candidates as they tried to win support for their campaigns, representing a valuable trove of primary source material.
Georgia Parliamentary Election, 2012 161 2,242 The present database represents the most comprehensive collection of election related ephemera and primary source material documenting the Georgian parliamentary elections of October 1, 2012. It contains thousands of pages of unique print materials collected by East View researchers in Tbilisi and other Georgian cities. Given the extensive use of print materials by both opposition and establishment the present collection of campaign materials provides an invaluable insight into Georgia's political life prior to and during the contentious elections.
Presidential Election, 2017 34 214 The Kyrgyz presidential elections took place on October 15, 2017 in a relatively calm political environment. There were 11 registered candidates vying for the presidency. Having served his single term limit the incumbent president Almazbek Atambayev was not a candidate, a fact that had an overall positive effect on the elections. The assessment of international observers was largely positive, with some violations, but not enough to alter the general trajectory of the elections. East View’s researchers collected the materials for this collection during the period immediately preceding the election, giving researchers valuable insight into the evolving political culture of Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Election, 2015 <50 >470 The Parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan took place on October 4, 2015 without major incidents. Up for grabs were 120 seats in the Jogorku Kengesh (Жогорку Кеңеш) through the proportional system of elections, with parties needing the required 7% threshold to make it into the parliament. According to a team of international observers dispatched from a variety of European countries under the aegis of the OSCE and ODIHR, the elections, despite being characterized as “lively," nevertheless contained one major shortcoming, a lack of “impartial information available to voters in the news.”
Presidential Election, 2018 209 >2,030 The latest round of Russian presidential elections was held on March 18, 2018. Unsurprisingly, Vladimir Putin was elected president with nearly 77% of the vote, however, there were seven other candidates. Alexei Navalny, not allowed to participate due to his past criminal conviction, redirected his efforts towards boycotting the elections altogether. This collection includes all of this documentation, plus, photos inside polling stations and of ballots, including those with handwritten notes of protest, and notices that candidates concealed financial assets abroad, and more.
Russia State Duma Election, 2016 600 >5,600 The September 18, 2016 State Duma elections in Russia were the first general elections since the Russian annexation of Crimea and Russian military intervention in Syria. As such they took place against the background of Western-imposed economic sanctions, rising Russian nationalism, and a general anti-Western mood prevalent in the media and the society at large. It also meant that for the first time Crimea would participate in the elections, leading to condemnation of the vote by Ukraine and non-recognition of the elections as legitimate by a string of Western powers, such as the US, Great Britain, France, Germany and others. Notwithstanding these various dynamic developments on domestic and foreign policy fronts the elections were an unusually dull affair with rare and unpronounced surprises.
Russia Presidential Election, 2012 503 5,336 This collection covers the Russian presidential elections of March 4, 2012. It contains thousands of pages of unique print materials collected by East View researchers in Moscow and other Russian cities. This one of a kind collection provides researchers easy, time- and cost-saving access to the documents and propaganda materials of this important period of Russian political life. Given the extensive use of print material by both opposition and establishment the present collection of election ephemera becomes an invaluable resource for understanding the underlying political and social dynamics of the 2012 Russian presidential election.
Russia State Duma Election, 2011 450 5,800 Ephemera produced by candidate campaigns, citizens, and the Russian government, gathered during and after the election period by East View on site.
South Ossetia Presidential Election, 2012 78 468 This collection documents the presidential election process in the breakaway Republic of South Ossetia. It contains hundreds of pages of primary source material collected in South Ossetia and in Ossetian diaspora communities in the Russian Federation. The unique collection of election paraphernalia and ephemera from Ossetian presidential election provides access to otherwise unavailable material in one convenient location.
Tajikistan Parliamentary Election, 2015 40 524 The results of the March 1, 2015 Parliamentary Elections in Tajikistan were never in doubt. As in previous elections, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (Hizbi Khalqī-Demokratī Tojikiston) which has the backing also of the country’s autocratic president Emomalii Rahmon, came on top with over 65% percent of the votes. Although there were additional 7 parties represented in the elections, they were never in competition for a majority representation, although some of them did indeed gain seats in the new parliament. A large part of the reason for the poor showing of the other parties was due to the restrictive campaigning environment that “failed to provide a level playing field for candidates,” characterized by “restrictions on the right to stand, freedoms of expression and assembly, and access to media limited the opportunity to make a free and informed choice.”
Ukraine Parliamentary Election, 2012 1,866 22,344 This is the most comprehensive collection of election related ephemera and primary source material documenting the contentious Ukrainian Rada elections of October 28, 2012. It contains over 12,000 pages of unique print materials collected by East View researchers in Kiev, Kharkov, Simferopol, Crimea and elsewhere throughout Ukraine. Given the extensive use of print material by party-affiliated and independent candidates alike, designed to shape the election narrative in a low-information setting, the present collection of election ephemera becomes an important resource for understanding the underlying political and social dynamics of the 2012 Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada elections.
Ukraine Parliamentary Election, 2014 >300 >2,000 Much like the early Presidential Elections of 2014, the 2014 snap elections of the Verkhovna Rada marks a new era in Ukrainian politics. The composition of the new Rada is arguably the most reformist-minded as well as the most pro-Western since the Ukrainian independence. Despite the political and military setbacks and the general political instability in the country due to the war in the East and the annexation of Crimea, the elections were not marred by significant violations. Leading domestic and international election monitoring organizations were nearly unanimous in issuing a clean bill of health albeit with a number of important caveats and suggestions. Whether the present Verkhovna Rada is going to be able to strengthen the institutions designed to cushion the impact of radical economic and political transformations is a question in search of answers.
Ukraine Euromaidan Protests, 2013-2014 112 522 The present database represents the most comprehensive collection of ephemera and primary source material from the Euromaidan protests that rocked Kiev beginning on November 21, 2013. The collection contains over 500 pages of unique print materials collected by East View researchers at Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the epicenter of the protests. East View's one of a kind collection provides researchers and analysts with easy, time- and cost-saving access to important documents, on-the-scene photographs, and various other print materials, which in turn would allow researchers to reconstruct the complex social and political dynamics at play during the protests with better precision.
Ukraine Presidential Election, 2014 150 1,622 A one of a kind collection of presidential ephemera from the May 2014 Early Presidential Election in Ukraine. It includes thousands of pages of scanned and digitized print materials collected by East View researchers in Kiev and elsewhere in the days leading up to the elections. It allows researchers and analysts to reconstruct the election process, gain invaluable insight into the main thematic preoccupations and ideas formulated by candidates in a time of profound national crisis, and assess the election process and its results from primary sources.