Russia to begin legislative elections to determine 450 seats in the State Duma

Russian legislative elections to determine 450 seats in the State Duma will begin today and end on September 19. In

Valentin Egorshin AP

Photo: Valentin Egorshin/AP

Russian legislative elections to determine 450 seats in the State Duma will begin today and end on September 19.

In the lead up to the elections, the ruling party—United Russia—has cracked down on its critics, provided cash payouts to potential voters and minimized monitoring of the polls for alleged fraud. Unlike previous elections, the public has been blocked from viewing camera feeds of the local polling stations.

The crackdown has also included criticism of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s smart voting app, which is designed to alert registered users to local candidates who have the greatest chance of defeating United Russia.

United Russia is expected to maintain its majority in the elections, despite state polling suggesting that only 26% of Russians will vote for the party. The result, which will likely be rigged, will illustrate the continued determination by President Vladimir Putin maintain power.

Russia’s new election laws regarding fraud at polling stations can also be expected to stay for future elections, further making future elections easier to rig. The continuation of President Putin’s leadership will likely cause further crackdowns to occur against his critics and continue Russia’s support for illiberal democracies and dictatorships abroad.

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