Russian Duma elections taking place

CCTV News

Woman placing her ballot

Russians have been going to the polls on Sunday to elect the 450 members of the lower house of parliament. So far, the election monitoring group GOLOS says it has received more than 1,300 complaints. After corruption was charged in the 2011 Duma election, there were massive protests in Moscow. Understandably, many eyes are watching today.

CCTV’s John Metherell reports.

Russian Duma elections taking place

Russian Duma elections taking place

Russians have been going to the polls on Sunday to elect the 450 members of the lower house of parliament. So far, the election monitoring group GOLOS says it has received more than 1,300 complaints.

Polls opened first in eastern Russia and have now closed in places like Vladivostok after 12 hours of voting. Stations are open from 8am to 8pm, but because of the size of the country, voting takes 22 hours. Russian citizens can also vote at many of the Russian embassies and consulates around the world.

While the result is not expected to change how power is distributed in the Duma, the perception of an honest count is a critical factor for Russia.

Turnout was reported as moderate at around 40 percent of eligible voters. By early Monday, most ballots are expected to be counted.

Allegations of election fraud have already been made. One video has been released showing what appears to be ballot stuffing in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.

Valentina Matviyenko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council, says violations are a human – not a government factor.

“Many times the president has asked to secure transparent and honest elections to raise the trust of civilians,” said Matviyenko. “However, sometimes there are people who try to falsify, to provide an advantage for some party.”

Parliamentary voting is taking place in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol for the first time since Russia annexed it from Ukraine in 2014.

There were brief disruptions in Kiev as protestors tried to block the entrance to the Russian embassy.

The voting has been condemned by Western leaders, but some locals are happy to be taking part. Igor Kuznetsov, a local resident, is one of them.

“I want our factories to resume work, our fishing port to start working again, to have more jobs,’ Kuznetsov said. “I want people to live better than during the hard times for Ukraine.”

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party is seen retaining even more dominant power in the Duma. The three other parties in the parliament are also expected to win seats and vote with United Russia.