World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Russia To Vote Following Controversial Campaign


By Peter Fedynsky
Moscow

Russia Votes Sunday Following Controversial Campaign

Voters in Russia go to the polls Sunday in a parliamentary election that follows a campaign dominated by President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia Party. Mr. Putin is looking for a big win that will allow United Russia to further consolidate power going into presidential elections on March 2.

The parliamentary campaign officially came to an end at midnight Friday, but opposition parties say their efforts to convince voters never really started. The opposition accuses the Kremlin of stifling debate, denying access to nationwide television, confiscating campaign literature, and arresting political opponents.

During the campaign, Mr. Putin made clear his intention for United Russia to gain influence over all of the country's key power structures including parliament, federal and regional governments, the courts, and Central Bank.

Mr. Putin says an exceptionally important aspect of the parliamentary election is that it takes places a few months before the presidential election. He adds that a victory in the December election will lead to victory in the March presidential vote.

United Russia's media campaign advantage was clear. President Putin was often shown on national television speaking in favor of his organization, and also harshly criticizing opponents as failed individuals or jackals with foreign ties who seek to humiliate and impoverish Russia. Rebuttals or return criticism by the opposition was relegated to small circulation newspapers. National TV access was denied.

A number of opposition parties were barred from participating in the election, including those forming a coalition led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov. He was arrested last week and sentenced to five days in jail for holding a demonstration that authorities did not allow. Kasparov sees Mr. Putin's frequent campaign activity as a sign of political trouble.

"He is trying to boost numbers for 'United Russia' because he knows the gap between virtual numbers that are trumpeted by Kremlin propaganda and real numbers," he said. "The gap is growing. People are quite concerned, they are annoyed. The prices are going up, the living standards are deteriorating. So, Putin is demonstrating that he is no longer confident".

The final day before the election in Russia is termed the day of silence. Mr. Putin was shown on national television Saturday spending part of the previous evening at a martial arts exhibition in the capital. Also on Saturday, Russian national television networks announced a 30 percent increase in government pension benefits and a 15 percent hike in military salaries.

More than 100 million Russians are eligible to vote, including those who live abroad but remain citizens of Russia.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Censures ‘heinous Attacks’ In Lake Chad Basin

Conflict over many years has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in north-east Cameroon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe The Secretary-General strongly condemned “heinous attacks” against civilians in the Lake Chad Basin, a UN spokesperson ... More>>

South Africa: COVID-19 Pandemic Raises The Urgency Of Structural Reforms

South Africa responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sharp drop in activity adds to long-standing challenges and raises the urgency of structural reforms, according to a new OECD report released today. In the latest Economic Survey of South Africa ... More>>

United Nations: ‘Immediate Humanitarian Assistance’ To Support Beirut

The response to Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut requires global support in order to “surmount the devastating impact” of the crisis facing the Lebanese people, the UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the country said on Thursday. More>>

UN Experts: Turkey Should Preserve Hagia Sophia As Space For Meeting Of Cultures

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul should be maintained as an inter-cultural space reflecting the diversity and complexity of Turkey and its history, and preserving the outstanding universal value which resulted in its World Heritage Status, say two UN human rights ... More>>