The pro-Kremlin deputies lost almost a third of their elected representatives compared to the previous term.
The ruling party suffered heavy losses on Sunday in the Moscow parliament elections, a poll that was closely followed after a summer of demonstrations severely repressed by Russian police.
If they still control the Moscow parliament, the pro-Kremlin deputies, with 25 seats out of 45, lose nearly a third of their elected representatives compared to the previous term. In 2014, United Russia Presidential Party candidates and their allies won 38 seats.
In an unprecedented protest movement since 2012, several tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Moscow at an almost weekly pace since mid-July, at the call of the opposition, furious to see its candidates removed from the polls.
Opponent Alexei Navalny, whose allies were excluded from the elections, called on voters to “vote intelligently” by supporting the best placed to beat the Kremlin candidates.
- Rising poverty and unpopular pension reform
Nothing says that his message was followed in a context of social unrest linked to the rise of poverty and unpopular pension reform, but the candidates supported by the authorities have lost in 20 of the 45 districts of the Russian capital.
With 13 deputies, against five previously, the communist candidates are the big winners of the election. Two other parties enter the Moscow parliament: the liberals of Yabloko, who win three seats and can also count on an independent they supported, and the Russia Fair party, considered part of the opposition “tolerated” by the Kremlin who wins three deputies.
“We fought together for that, thank you all for your contribution,” Alexei Navalny said on Twitter while lawyer Liubov Sobol, who emerged as one of the leaders of the summer protest, hailed ” a result that will enter the history of Moscow “.
- A very low participation rate in Moscow
The participation rate, however, remained very low in Moscow at 21.77%, barely more than in the previous local election in 2014. Nine former members of the Presidential United Russia party failed to keep their seats, among which the head of the Moscow branch of the party, Andreï Metelsky, MP since 2001.
Faced with the fall of the popularity of United Russia, the authorities had however taken care not to present any candidate under this banner, trying to seek personalities from civil society.
- 2700 arrests in Muscovite demonstrations
Mostly unauthorized, the summer protests resulted in nearly 2,700 arrests in Moscow, unheard of since the protests wave of 2011-2012 that preceded Putin’s return to the presidency after a term of prime minister.
Virtually all opposition figures received short prison sentences and five protesters received heavy sentences for “violence” against law enforcement officials, up to four years in prison.
In all, more than 5,000 elections were held in the country on Sunday, with the Russians electing 16 regional governors and local parliamentarians from 13 regions, including Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
In St. Petersburg, where the campaign was very controversial, the interim governor supported by the Kremlin Alexander Beglov was re-elected in the first round but the opposition denounced many electoral frauds. Elsewhere in Russia, the majority of the governors supported by United Russia were re-elected.