Elections in Russia after severe crackdown on dissent

Moscow (AFP) – Russia held legislative elections on Sunday in 11 time zones in which the ruling party is expected to maintain its majority after a relentless crackdown on dissent.

So far, the election has been marred by multiple reports of fraud, including fraudulent ballot boxes, a lack of security, and intimidation of observers.

The elections are a key part of President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to consolidate his power ahead of the 2024 presidential election, in which control of the State Duma (parliament) will be key.

However, a large majority of opposition candidates are banned from competing in the elections, amid intense attempts by the ruling party to suppress any expression of dissent or protest.

By Sunday afternoon – the last three days you can vote, a shorter period due to the coronavirus pandemic – turnout was just over 40% and polling stations were closed in Siberia and the Far East.

Since Friday, reports of abuse have abounded in the Russian press, opposition politicians and independent observers. At that time long queues quickly formed outside some polling stations in Moscow, with voters telling reporters they were being forced into by their employers, often a government agency.

Source: Associated Press

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