According to exit polls, Vladimir Putin’s United Russia lost its majority in the Russian parliament in Sunday’s voting. United Russia fell from a two third majority to under fifty percent. Prior to the election, Putin muzzled independent election monitors; so the actual vote was much worse for his former majority party.
To understand the magnitude of this electoral drubbing, consider a U.S. election in which Republican candidates are banned, and the Democrats vie against the Green, Libertarian, and the Freedom Socialist Parties, and THEY FAIL TO WIN A MAJORITY. This was the case in Russia on Sunday. The majority of ballots were not for someone but against the Putin regime.
In his more than decade rule, Putin has eviscerated any and all political opposition. Popular liberal figures, such as Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov (both Putin former prime ministers), and Gary Kasparov have been threatened, intimidated, and jailed. Anyone not towing Putin’s party lines is denied coverage in the Putin-dominated media. Putin has rid himself of major political figures carried over from the communist era, such as Yury Luzhkov, ousted mayor of Moscow.