(The Conversation) President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party defied economic concerns and a recent slump in support to retain a parliamentary majority – to the surprise of almost no one.
The official tally announced by Russia’s Central Election Commission on Sept. 20, 2021, was met with immediate skepticism. The three-day vote has been plagued with allegations of poll violations, the exclusion of opposition leaders and delays in the announcement of online voting results that strongly favored regime candidates.
The outcome means United Russia retains a constitutional majority in parliament. The other big winners in the national election were smaller, pro-Kremlin parties.
If taken on face value, the results would suggest a turnaround in approval rates for United Russia. Public support for the party dropped to 27% nationally in the months before the election. A leaked internal poll in March showed that 55% of people in Moscow said they would support opposition candidates. Yet United Russia claimed victory even in Moscow – although the results there were immediately questioned by opposition parties that aired concern over votes cast online without anonymity or independent observation. […]
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