2018 Russian Elections


The Russian 2018 presidential elections were held at an opportune time for this project. Of course, due to the limitations of the course and available manpower, only the rhetorical preferences of Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zhirinovskii were chosen.

The particular texts were selected on the basis of availability rather than the nature of their content. The quantity of transcribed texts from interviews and speeches is actually rather limited, and since the focus of our work was on honing our skills as digital humanists, we decided not to manually transcribe. Regardless, we intend to draw whatever conclusions that we can from our corpus in the pursuit of our analysis. We plan to investigate recurring topics in their discourse and how their terminology reflects party ideology, popular attitudes, and how candidates relate to their audiences. We are using topic modelling to track the subjects that the candidates most frequently cite throughout their discourse. We are also interested in comparing how the media looks at Putin's rhetoric against the results we find in our own research.

Election Results

The results were announced on the 19th of March that Putin had won an overwhelming majority of the vote totaling 76%. Grudinin received 11% of the vote. Zhirinovskii received 5% of the vote. Putin will continue as the president for 6 years until 2024.

Candidate Bios

Vladimir Putin has had a long career spaning 16 years as a KGB agent and has since retired and entered politics where he has remained ever since. He served 2 consecutive terms as President of Russian from 2000 to 2008,one term as prime minister from 2008 to 2012, a third term from 2012 to 2018, and has been elected in 2018 for a fourth term. He has been a member of the Unity and United Russian parties during his political career and pursued a policy of general economic liberalism, formation of economic ties with other Eurasian nations such as China, and an adversarial relationship with western governments. According to Russian-based polls, he enjoys a large approval rate among the population with numbers over 70% often cited.

United Russia website

Vladimir Zhirinovskii is the leader of the LDPR party(Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) and has run for the presidency five times. He has sought to form an opposition party to the status quo though has had very limited success. Zhirinovskii is well known for his nationalistic views, outspokenness, and anti-Western opinions. His party advocates a strong economic interventionist policy while still allowing private ownership of property. The party claims to oppose the communism of the Soviet Union while still advocating the restoration of historical Russian borders which requires the reabsorption of former soviet states such as Belarus and the Ukraine.

LDPR website

Zhirinovskii's profile