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Opposition parties fare well in Russian vote

MOSCOW (JTA) — Two political parties with anti-Semitic elements did well in Russian regional elections.

The Communist Party led by Gennady Zyuganov received as much as 25 percent of Sunday’s vote in some regional parliaments, and the Liberal-Democratic Party led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky took up to 19 percent in some precincts. Neither party had done as well since the mid-1990s.

United Russia, the party of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, remained the dominant party.

Both the Communist and Liberal-Democratic parties include prominent members who have been publicly anti-Semitic.

In 2005, a group of Russian State Duma deputies from the Communist Party asked Russia’s attorney general to ban all Jewish organizations in Russia as “extremist.” The Liberal-Democratic Party represents the spectrum of Russian nationalist movements and is anti-Western in its orientation.

However, the election campaign was largely free of extremist slogans. Experts attributed the success of the opposition parties to a protest vote against the pro-Kremlin party, United Russia.

Voters in eight regions chose new regional parliaments, and regional and municipal elections were conducted in 76 of Russia’s 83 regions.

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