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. East View’s Social Movements, Elections, Ephemera series eliminates the need to acquire, catalog and shelve thousands of campaign materials that are fleeting by nature and challenging to obtain.
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.