News from Russia: what you missed over the weekend

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Parliamentary responsible

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party was on track to win a strong majority in a parliamentary vote, results showed Monday after an election that followed an unprecedented crackdown on the opposition.

With 80.1% of the votes counted, United Russia led with 49.42% of the vote, followed by the Communist Party with 20.25%.

Voting by party list accounts for only half of the 450 seats in the Lower House of the State Duma, and United Russia dominated the other half of the seats allocated in single-term races. With 71.50% of the votes counted, United Russia the candidates led in at least 196 of the 225 seats.

The turnout was 45% according to the latest figures released Sunday by the electoral commission.

Widespread violations

Russian social media has been inundated with reports of ballot box stuffing and soldiers patrolling polling stations. As of Sunday evening, independent election observer Golos – whom the authorities described as a “foreign agent” ahead of the elections – had recorded nearly 4,900 reports of voting violations.

Critics also pointed out that online voting, new limits on independent election observers and three-day polls presented opportunities for mass election fraud. Allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said the vote was falsified on a large scale, particularly highlighting the repeated delays in releasing the results of the opposition-friendly and liberal Moscow e-voting.

Potholing

At the start of the vote on Friday, Apple and Google sparked an uproar among the Russian opposition after removing Navalny’s “Smart Voting” app from their stores, which urged candidates to return to topple Kremlin-aligned politicians .

The popular Telegram messenger also deleted Navalny’s “Smart Voting” bot on Friday evening. Google Docs and YouTube videos containing lists of recommended candidates were also blocked on Sunday.

Foreign interference

Russia’s electoral commission said on Saturday it had recorded foreign interference in its ongoing three-day parliamentary elections.

The commission said two attacks targeted its website while a third was a denial of service attack.

Art exhibition

On Wednesday, the new exhibition of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris will present Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Matisse and Cézanne – as well as Manet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rodin – on loan from Russian museums.

The 200 portraits, sculptures and photographs were brought to Russia by Mikhail and Ivan Morozov, brothers born into a textile dynasty in the 1870s.

According to Bloomberg, Putin personally green light the collection loaned in 2016, when the Louis Vuitton Foundation of billionaire Bernard Arnault presented another collection on loan from Russian museums.

Includes AFP reports.


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