Despite the record low ratings, Putin’s party will still sweep the Russian election

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Newsletter: Euro Express

Russia’s ruling pro-Kremlin party may renew its absolute majority Parliamentary election After a campaign marked by the suppression of supporters of the imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, it ended on Sunday.

As people are angry about the decline in living standards, the United Russia Party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, is expected to win most of the 450 seats in the State Duma in the lower house of parliament.

Although the poll support rate is as low as 27%, the Kremlin is seeking a huge victory for the ruling party in the final vote before Putin’s current presidential term expires in 2024.

Although the 68-year-old Putin is more popular than the United Russia Party, maintaining the party’s absolute majority is the key to the Kremlin’s adoption of its agenda, including last year’s constitutional reform that may extend Putin’s rule to 2036, and several Laws that suppress Navalny’s supporters. On the eve of voting.

Dozens of opposition candidates were eliminated from the ballot, some of them because of their relationship with Navalny. Some successful people accused the Kremlin of running for spoiler candidates under almost the same name — and in at least one case, appearance — split protest voting.

The Kremlin also took action to suppress the tactical voting activities of Navalny supporters to direct dissatisfaction to one of the Kremlin-managed opposition parties that were allowed to vote.

Apple and Google Remove After Russia threatened to arrest their employees, Navalny’s “Smart Voting” app was launched from their store on Friday. Google subsequently deleted two documents and a video, which listed officially approved candidates. Navalny’s team believed that these candidates were most likely to defeat the United Russia Party in their region.

“They opened Pandora’s box,” Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov wrote on Facebook. “All this will be terrible.”

Analysts said that as part of its campaign strategy, the Kremlin tried to use a mixture of rhetoric and coercion to push its supporters to participate in opinion polls while suppressing the voter turnout of the opposition.

When voting began on Friday, long lines formed outside some polling stations, and some told the Russian media that they were state employees forced to vote in the workplace.

In Moscow, the authorities also draw lots for people who vote online, including apartments and cars.

Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of the political consulting firm R. Politik, said: “I want people who oppose the authorities to stay at home, and those who rely on them or support the United Russia Party to vote.” them [the Kremlin] We need to do our best to use various techniques to get these people to vote. ”

According to the Election Commission, the nationwide turnout rate reached 35% on Sunday morning after the first two days of voting.

Election supervisors posted security camera footage of polling stations on social media, showing obvious violations, including a hand sticking out from behind the Russian flag in the Siberian city of Kemerovo and stuffing ballots into the ballot box in Moscow Pre-filled ballots for the unification of Russia and suspected of buying ballots in the Far East.

But Ella Pamfilova, chairman of the election committee, said that only 6 ballots were found and only 7,000 ballots were invalid.

In the months before the vote, Russia also banned Navalny’s foundation, prompted most of his most important allies to leave the country, and designated several independent media and NGOs as “foreign agents” .

The Kremlin believes that repression is necessary to prevent foreign interference in the election.

Political scientist Mikhail Vinogradov said: “Obviously, the West does not have any serious influence in Russian politics, but some Russian authorities believe that the West is indeed trying to harm Russia.”

“Now the plan to ban everything has become as ridiculous as possible, so the obvious question is whether they continue to ban all forms of social activities or seek to make new rules of the game after everyone is scared away.”

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