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What the big win for Putin's party at Russia vote tells us

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stand together during the parliamentary elections, as Russia's ruling party won 49.8 percent of the vote on September 18, 2016The crushing victory of Russia’s ruling party has been welcomed as a vote for “stability” by President Vladimir Putin, but slammed as a catastrophe by the marginalised opposition. The record win for Putin’s party came despite the country suffering the longest economic crisis of the strongman’s 16-year rule, but the low voter turnout could raise new problems for the authorities. For Putin and his allies this is a thumping victory: the United Russia party boosted its share of the vote and will now have some three quarters of the seats in the 450-member State Duma.

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