Russia elections: Kremlin-backed parties take a hit

Parties tied to the ruling United Russia have retained their majority in Moscow despite flagging support. Protests and the exclusion of opposition candidates put the poll under intense scrutiny.

Kremlin-backed parties kept their majority in Moscow’s municipal legislature, according to final vote results on Monday morning. However, they saw their support slashed after months of protests over the vote that barred opposition voices and critics of President Vladimir Putin from running for office.

Although Putin is technically an independent, he has strong ties to United Russia, which reportedly came away with only 26 of the Moscow Duma’s 45 seats, a major drop from the 38 it held before. Some former United Russia members had branded themselves independents before the vote, however, as support for the party has plummeted amidst rising poverty across the country.

Two other parties that are loosely controlled by the Kremlin, the Communists and the center-left A Just Russia are expected to win 14 and 4 seats, respectively.

Yabloko, a small social liberal and green party, is on track for three seats. It’s lead candidate Sergei Mitrokhin had been initially barred from running, but was allowed to contest the election after a city court in his favor.

Daria Besedina, a Yabloko candidate who wone her district, wrote on Twitter that despite the minor victory: “We shouldn’t forget that these were not real elections – a lot of genuine (opposition) candidates who would have won were not allowedto run…Moscow would have got an opposition Duma if all the candidates were registered.”

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Opposition blocked from running

In mid-July, the Central Election Commission refused to register most opposition politicians as candidates, claiming that the signatures of support they had gathered in order to run were falsified.