Putin’s Party Put to the Test

Russia is holding parliamentary elections beginning on Sunday which could provide a glimpse into the current popularity of Vladimir Putin’s 12-year rule. Putin’s United Russia party is expected to maintain a majority in the Duma, but it is not likely to maintain all 315 seats that it currently occupies in the 450-seat parliament. Such an outcome would mean that the party would not maintain its constitutional majority. However, many opposition parties claim the election is unfair, and the director of Golos, the country’s only independent elections watchdog was detained at Moscow airport on Saturday. Lilya Shibanova was detained for 12 hours and only allowed to leave when she surrendered her laptop.