Published On: Thu, Sep 5th, 2019

Putin news: Vladimir Putin on brink as loyalists turn back on Russian President | World | News

Polls in April indicated that the Russian President’s grip on the capital Moscow has slipped with 37 percent backing independent candidates, leaving 20 percent maintaining support of Putin’s United Russia. In St Petersburg, even the Putin-backed Alexander Beglev will enter race for the role of governor as an independent. United Russia immediately removed Beglev’s biography from their website following the candidate’s rejection of the ruling party.

It would appear Putin is in a vulnerable position domestically despite a string of recent diplomatic successes on the world stage.

However, some are claiming that the wave of departures from the party is a deliberate strategy to confuse the electorate and that the independent candidates will still back pro-Kremlin mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

As he enters his third decade in power, Putin’s approval ratings have dropped significantly and critics say the authorities fear any outlet calling for wider political change.

The State Duma, which lies in the Federal Assembly of Russia, is still controlled by United Russia, passing legislation with little opposition.

Putin’s main critic in Russia, Alexei Navalny, has urged voters to target the closest rivals to United Russia in the 45 constituencies throughout Russia, even if they do not happen to be the voter’s first choice.

He said: “It’s very possible that this candidate will not be yours and you will not like him or her.

“Then think about how you like United Russia even less.”

Protests have been organised in the capital with as many as 60,000 people pressuring for free and fair elections in a country where Putin has quashed opposition rhetoric.

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The demonstrations have been met with security measures but have persisted.

Sam Greene, director of the Russia Institute at King’s College, London, told Reuters: “The harsh police response has galvanised the activists even more and transformed regular voters into protesters.”

In response to the electoral threat, the government has excluded much the opposition from the upcoming elections.

Many of the candidates were told the signatures they gathered to qualify, in the upcoming election, were invalid, with Putin alleging they were “falsifications”.

Navalny’s ally and party campaign chief said last year: “Nobody said it would be easy.

“In 20 years the Kremlin guys have stolen the whole country. Did you really think we could defeat them with one protest?”

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