This building, home to Russia’s lower house of parliament, is known as the Duma. The term is tied to the idea of thinking, and those who thought that the United Russia party would increase their hold on power were thinking correctly.
Reaction from Russian president Vladimir Putin was predictable as he greeted news of his party’s continued control with the expression “pretty good.” Mr. Putin arrived at 12:50 pm to cast his ballot at polling station No. 2151, the Russian Academy of Sciences.
United Russia increased its majority from 238 to over 300. There are a total of 450 seats, all were up for reelection, and the only “minority” parties to hold seats were those loyal to the Kremlin.
Two highly visible Kremlin opponents lost their bids: Current deputy Dmitry Gudkov, considered to be only remaining opposition liberal, was defeated. Well-known opposition candidate Maria Baronova lost her bid for a seat.
The chart below shows the new alignment of the 450 seats:
United Russia: 343
Communist Party: 42
Liberal Democrats: 39
A Just Russia: 23
The Rodina (Homeland) party and the Civic Platform party each won a single seat. The final seat went to an Independent. Roughly half the seats will be appointed from party lists, the others from single-mandate voting.
Unsurprisingly, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors pointed to plenty of polling violations and ballot-stuffing which are widely considered to be standard fare in Russian elections.
Russians in general were unimpressed, with less than half of registered voters bothering to cast a ballot. It was the lowest turnout of any election since the fall of the Soviet Union with fewer than 40% showing up. The two cities with the highest number of opposition voters were quiet. The Moscow turnout was about 30% and just under 20% for Saint Petersburg.
For our Russian language readers we recommend the Medusa media analysis of the election at this link.