NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin’s big win in Russian elections may not be a victory” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… United Russia … may have won a crushing victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections … undoubtedly … a huge boost for … Putin. But the most common remark about the now-concluded election campaign is that it was “very boring.” … an odd moment for Russia …. buffeted by two years of economic recession and still-escalating political tensions with the West. Presidential elections are less than two years away. While Mr. Putin has yet to commit to running for another six-year term, alternatives to his nearly two-decade-long rule now appear more remote than ever. * * * The biggest red flag … extremely low voter turnout  …. Just under half of voters … far below the 60 percent … in the last Duma polls. In Moscow … fewer than 30 percent …. St. Petersburg … an all-time low … of just 16 percent.

Experts say that suggests Russia’s heavily stage-managed political system has failed to engage public trust … that could spell trouble for the presidential elections that are just over the horizon.

Click here for Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir: “Why the Kremlin’s big win in Russian elections may not be a victory: United Russia came away Sunday with a landslide victory. But voter apathy, even in more anti-establishment regions like Sverdlovsk, may be the biggest factor in the pro-Putin party’s win.”