Russia will hold local elections on Sunday, which will be considered a significant measure by the president Vladimir Putin in favor of the United Russia party.
Local parliaments and governors of several regions are elected.
The popularity of a united Russia has been low due to, among other things, unpopular pension reform and the declining livelihood of Russians, and corruption, says BBC. According to a survey by the state VTsIOM opinion polling center, a quarter of Russians feel that they live in poverty, says Znak.com. According to the survey, 41 percent do not believe that their financial situation will improve, and a quarter believe that their family’s situation will deteriorate within a year, says Interessant.ru. However, the situation has improved since the spring.
One of the party’s toughest critics, an opposition politician Aleksei Navalnyi is still in hospital in Germany. According to the German government, Navalnyi was poisoned with a neurotoxin by novice shock. According to Spiegel, the German authorities believe that the strong novice shock used to poison Navalny could only be produced in a special military laboratory in Russia.
Navalnyi has called United Russia a “villains and thieves” party. The Navalny campaign team has urged Russians to tactically vote for the strongest challenger to United Russia, he represented any party, AFP says. BBCAccording to Navalny, the team believes the campaign could have been the cause of his poisoning.
In some areas, it is possible to vote for candidates linked to Navalny. Other parties available are Communists or nationalist parties.
In connection with the local elections last year, there were major demonstrations in Moscow after opposition candidates were barred from participating in the elections.
Sunday’s election is the first since Russia was pushed through a constitutional amendment that will allow Putin to remain president until 2036. In a year’s time, the Russian Parliament will be voted on.