News / Europe

Russian Ruling Party Wins Regional Vote

An election official assists a man with his ballot papers at a polling station in the Southern Russian city of Stavropol, March 13, 2011
An election official assists a man with his ballot papers at a polling station in the Southern Russian city of Stavropol, March 13, 2011
James Brooke

Russia’s ruling party has won Sunday's regional elections, but with less than half of votes cast.  

Voting from the Baltic to the Arctic, millions of Russians cast ballots in regional elections Sunday.  The voting was seen as the kick-off for a political year - parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections next March.

Heavy government support backed the official ruling party, United Russia.  About 4,000 opposition candidates were disqualified. Opposition posters were torn down from billboards.  Opposition access to TV and radio was highly restricted.

On voting day, the United Russia machine focused on getting a massive turnout from voters who heavily depend on the goodwill of government officials - soldiers, students living in state university dormitories and elderly people living in nursing homes.

Grigory Melkonyants runs Golos, Russia’s only independent election watchdog group.  He says many of his 400 election observers decided not to go to polling stations after they received calls or visits from the police.

While he says the election environment in Russia gets worse and worse with each election, voters are increasingly willing to use the Internet or his toll-free number to call in complaints, more than 700 so far.

Despite the pressure, and the official support, United Russia received only 46 percent of the vote.  With the opposition vote split among three other parties, Russia’s ruling party won 68 percent of seats in ruling legislatures.

Victor Linnik, editor of Slovo, a political magazine, said, "Overall results by the United Russia can be considered a modest win."

The communists came in second, winning 13 percent of the seats.  Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party, said,"The ruling party has again demonstrated all the dirt and disgusting things that the voters don’t accept."

That criticism was not aired on state television.

Last month, Finance Minister Minister Aleksei Kudrin made waves by saying Russia needs "fair and honest" elections to support its economic recovery.

On Monday, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took a low political profile, choosing to go to television for a briefing on the nuclear emergency in Japan.

Off-camera, he praised the election results in an interview with Interfax news agency, saying United Russia "has won in all regions where elections were held."  He said, "It is the leading political force."

Mr. Putin said the vote is an indicator of people’s confidence in the authorities in general in a crisis.

Linnik, the political analyst, predicted. "In Duma elections for December of this year, we will pretty much see a repeat of the same showing, for United Russia and other parties," he said.

Russia is the world’s largest oil producer, and oil prices are on Mr. Putin’s side.

With the turmoil in the Arab world and the loss of nuclear power plants in Japan, the price of Russian oil is 50 percent higher than last year.  That means more money for Prime Minister Putin to raise pensions and state salaries in the run-up to elections that are to decide Russia’s future for much of this decade.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More