The record low turnout in Russia’s parliamentary elections last month was blamed in part on deliberate attempts by the authorities to suppress voter interest, in the belief this would help the ruling, pro-Kremlin United Russia party. Elections were brought forward from December to September, when many urban Russians prefer harvesting vegetables in the autumn sun at their dachas at weekends to staying in the city to vote.
But a group of opposition candidates says the turnout reflected fundamental disillusionment among Russians with the ruling regime – and the whole political process. If so, that represents an important and potentially worrying shift for the Kremlin. Read more