The Sunday September 18 election for the Russian parliament has given Vladimir Putin another pro-Putin parliament (Duma) to routinely rubber-stamp his most ludicrous and repressive legislation. His United Russia party gained a majority (54 percent according to preliminary results). No opposition party crossed the five percent hurdle; instead, the reliable Communist (13 percent), Liberal Democrat (13 percent), and Just Russia Parties (6 percent) will join United Russia in the new Duma. Only sixteen candidates from the so-called small parties gained seats in regional parliaments. In a word: The Duma election was a total wipeout of legislative opposition in Putin’s Russia. This is no big deal in itself because the legislative branch has little power, but the election signaled the end of hope for change through elections in Russia. Palace coups or the streets are the only remaining options of the Russian people.
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