Putin on Test as Russia Begins Voting to Elect a New Parliament
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Putin on Test as Russia Begins Voting to Elect a New Parliament

On Friday, Putin I going to face the challenge as Russians are going to begin voting and choose a new parliament in a three-day vote. The operating United Russia party expects to win regardless of a rating drop after the most significant crackdown on the Kremlin’s detractors in years.

The vote is a challenge for President Vladimir Putin as he needs to be successful again from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea as the Kremlin faces disquietude at the domestic level over failure in improving living standards and not being able to manage relations with the West.

In question is United Russia’s majority in the state of Duma, which in 2020 assisted Putin to easily pass through constitutional reforms that enable him to compete for office once again and possibly continue until 2036.

Navalny’s partners call the presidential elections fake and have advised supporters to choose the candidate they believe has the most chances to defeat United Russia in various regions.

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Both United Russia and Putin’s ratings have felt the squeeze because of long periods of declining or stagnant wages compounded by dissatisfaction over the pandemic, growing inflation, and economic crisis. 

The voting will commence late Sunday and is viewed as a trial run for the official presidential elections in 2024. It is a profoundly delicate time for the Kremlin to leave or remain with the political transition to a newly elected leader. Putin has not spoken on whether he will go for re-election when his term expires in 2024.

The Kremlin’s fiercest critic Alexei Navalny has been imprisoned on anti-corruption charges and believes that a tactical voting campaign driven by his organization can detract United Russia and harm its effort to win the majority. However, Google and Apple have suddenly removed the tactical voting application from their mobile application stores in Russia just before the polls. Russian state had been intensifying the tension on US tech giant companies to remove the voting app just ahead of elections.

The vote is happening alongside elections for local legislative assemblies. It is extended more than three days due to precautions and measures for handling coronavirus; a move analyst says indicates observing efforts to stop voter fraud. 

His allies, who blame the Kremlin for a comprehensive crackdown, get no opportunity of winning even a foothold in genuine politics after they were banned from campaigning for office in light of their relationship with Navalny’s organization. The Kremlin rejects any politically determined crackdown and maintains that people are charged for violating the law.

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