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News Brief


President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party appeared to be winning handily in parliamentary elections, as expected. Exit polls and early returns Sunday showed United Russia garnering more than 62 percent of the vote.

The voting appeared to reinforce Putin’s claim that although he cannot serve a third term, he can keep guiding Russia even after he steps down March 2.

The exit poll by the state-run VTsIOM showed the opposition Communist Party in second place with more than 11 percent of the vote.

JTA found that some Russian Jews registered their disapproval at what they see as a period of eroding freedoms across Russia by surprisingly opting for the Communist Party in a protest vote.

Only two other parties, both loyal to the Kremlin, appeared to clear the 7 percent of the vote needed to enter the lower house of parliament, the Duma, the poll showed. The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and Fair Russia both were above 8 percent.

Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and opposition candidate who is an outspoken critic of Putin, told the Washington Post he ruined his ballot at a central Moscow polling station. His Other Russia coalition is not a registered party.

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