Russia: Opposition descends into infighting before elections | The Guardian

Russia’s liberal opposition has been subjected to all kinds of pressure in the last few months, from leaked clandestine sex tapes to dubious court cases and physical violence. As parliamentary elections approach in September, the authorities appear to be throwing every dirty trick in the book at them. But the opposition is also engaged in a fight with enemies who are proving even more destructive than the Kremlin: each other. Parliamentary elections on 18 September will set the tone for a presidential election in 2018, in which Vladimir Putin is expected to stand and win another six-year term in office. Currently, the Russian Duma is made up of just four parties: the pro-Kremlin behemoth United Russia, and three smaller parties known as the “systemic opposition”, which provide a semblance of competition but do not oppose the Kremlin on any substantive issues. Lying outside the system are the other opposition parties, ranging in spectrum from liberals to nationalists. They are not given airtime on television and are often struck off the ballot in elections. With the political system carefully controlled and state television only ever covering the opposition in negative terms, there is little public support for rocking the boat. However, when the anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny was allowed to stand for mayor of Moscow in 2013, he won 27% of the vote, showing there is appetite for new faces among a certain section of urban Russians.

Full Article: Russia's opposition descends into infighting before elections | World news | The Guardian.

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