NEWSWATCH Reuters: When Kremlin candidate loses election, even voters are surprised.

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

Reuters covers a recent Russian regional election in which the ruling United Russia party suffered defeat.

When Communist Sergei Levchenko beat the incumbent from President Vladimir Putin’s party to become governor of Irkutsk region in Siberia on Sunday, even the voters who backed him were surprised: the Kremlin doesn’t lose elections.

The result is said to raise questions about the Kremlin’s dominance, as economic conditions have worsened for the Russian citizenry.

… the apparent inability of United Russia to get its way suggests … the Kremlin political machine may be less monolithic than thought, which could have implications for parliamentary elections next year.

… economic crisis brought on by low international oil prices and U.S. and EU sanctions imposed over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine means life is getting harder for most Russians for the first time since Putin took power ….

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