Head of independent election monitors detained at Sheremetyevo airport for 12 hours.

Arriving as scheduled at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Liliya Shibanova, head of Russia’s independent election monitors was detained for 12 hours because she refused to hand over her laptop “for inspection”, making it difficult for independent monitors to observe Sunday’s parliamentary election. Officials took her laptop on the pretext that it had illegal software, according to the group’s attorney.

Voting schedule: Voting from 20:00 GMT on Saturday in the Russian Far East regions , then ending 21 hours later when polling stations close at 17:00 GMT on Sunday in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

Speaking to reporters, Ms.Liliya Shibanova said, “This is a provocation directed personally against me.” Shibanova feared police would upload something to her laptop’s hard drive and then initiate a criminal case against her.

The ruling United Russia party is expected to win the vote but recent public opinion polls suggest that Russian citizens are showing signs of weariness with the party. Both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin has said that a divided Duma, the lower parliament, would signal a setback for the country without a clear United Russia majority holding 2/3 or more of the total seats.

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