Meanwhile, all government propaganda – and part of the "opposition" that actually plays along with it – is aimed at demoralizing voters and watering down turnout in the competitive regions. Voters are told that there are no elections in Russia and that there is no need to go to the polls until “ideal” elections magically appear. As a result, though turnout in protest-prone regions ticked up during the State Duma elections in 2021 (in Russia as a whole turnout rose from 47.88% in 2016 to 51.72% in 2021), the final victory of United Russia was still driven by falsification in “electoral sultanates.”
Importantly, the electoral situation across regions is fluid. There are regions that have been "anomalous" for 20 years, and there are those that become such and then change. For example, Amur Region showed anomalous results in 2007-08, when Nikolai Kolesov, a native of Tatarstan, was appointed governor there, but after his dismissal normal distributions of votes were again seen in the region.
Under Vyacheslav Gaiser, Komi Republic became an anomalous region, while following the arrests of Gaiser and other senior regional leaders (including the former chair of the Komi election commission, Elena Shabarshina) Komi returned to the ranks of protest-prone and “electorally normal” regions. Under Governor Vladimir Gruzdev, Tula became an anomalous regions, like Bryansk under Alexander Bogomaz.
Many regions have anomalous zones within them (e.g. Ussuriysk in Primorsky Krai and Oleninsky municipal area [now a municipal district] in Tver Region).
Based on the 2021 elections, dropping out of the anomalous ranks were Kalmykia (there was widespread protest voting against the backdrop of a conflict between regional head Batu Khasikov and local elites, with turnout dropping from 57% in 2016 to 50%), Crimea (turnout fell below the national average of 49.75%, while support for United Russia slid from 72.8% to 63.33%) and Chukotka (United Russia received 46.7%, which in no way can be considered an anomalous result).
Rostov and Voronezh regions are a similar case: even with the electronic voting within Rostov by DNR and LNR residents who had been given Russian passports, turnout came in below the national average at 48.8%, while in Voronezh turnout in 2021 was flat versus 2016 at 53.8%, only slightly higher than the 2021 national average.
At the same time, Stavropol Krai again became anomalous in 2021 (with an anomalous rise in turnout from 42% to 67%), along with Volgograd Region (turnout jumped from 42% to 65%) and for the first time the Jewish Autonomous Region (turnout soared from 39.6% to 63%, while support for United Russia went from 45% to 56%).