Putin’s United Russia party set to win Russian election
The exit polls for the Russian parliamentary elections have predicted that Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party will receive 44.5% of the vote to the surprise of hardly anybody.
An exit poll by a state-run polling organisation, VTsIOM, showed that the United Russia party, led by the Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, obtained a majority in Russian parliament. The nationalist LDPR was in second place with 15.3% of the vote, according to the exit poll, followed by the Communist party on 14.9% and the Just Russia party on 8.1%.
In Moscow just 28% of voters had cast their ballots by 6pm, compared with more than 50% in the previous elections five years ago. After the 2011 parliamentary vote, accusations of vote-rigging led tens of thousands of Russians to take to the streets in a series of protests that lasted until Putin’s inauguration for a new term in May 2012.
After the last elections in 2011 there were widespread accusations of foul play and vote rigging which lead to tens of thousands of protestors hitting the streets in Moscow. They lasted until Putin’s inauguration in 2012.
Opposition politicians from Parnas, the party led by Boris Nemtsov until his assassination in Moscow last year, stood in a number of regions with candidates backed by the exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky also on the ticket and, once again, there have been allegations of foul play.
Opposition parties point out that the playing field is uneven, given the Kremlin’s tight control over much of the media. The opposition has been riven by infighting and divisions over strategy, further fragmenting an already small slice of the vote.
Few are expecting major protests this time. Those five years ago resulted in trials and prison sentences for some of those involved, which has left many feeling that political activism will not change anything. Putin has become more popular since the annexation of Crimea, where people voted in their first parliamentary elections as part of Russia. Ukraine, unsurprisingly, strongly condemned the vote.