In the election of the new State Duma, overshadowed by allegations of manipulation, the power base of President Vladimir Putin has, according to initial results, asserted itself as the strongest force.

The numbers of the election commission from late Sunday evening are based on the counting of only 20 percent of the ballot papers.

The United Russia party came to 44 percent.

So far she has ruled with an absolute majority.

The Kremlin Party celebrated its election victory in the capital Moscow. “We are Putin's team,” shouted activists loyal to the Kremlin. Party officials said at one appearance that Putin's course would be continued. They shouted “Putin, Putin, Putin”. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that the outcome of the election was a "feast day".

After the partial count, the communists received 22 percent of the vote.

The right-wing populist LDPR party of the ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Just Russia party have also been represented in parliament with 450 members.

The LDPR landed at 8.5 percent in the voter polls, Fair Russia at 7.3 percent.

They are all considered to be loyal parties.

The fifth party was the new force Nowyje Ljudi - in German: New People - hope to jump over the five percent hurdle.

According to the first results, it came to 6.6 percent.

The opposition around the imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexej Navalnyj was excluded from the vote, which was first scheduled for three days.

The turnout was given a few hours before the polls closed at around 45 percent.

Opposition largely excluded

In Russia and abroad, around 110 million eligible voters were called upon to appoint a new State Duma for the next five years.

There were 14 parties to choose from, and there were hardly any real opposition candidates among the candidates.

The election was seen as an important test of sentiment for Kremlin chief Putin and his politics.

According to surveys, many people in Russia are dissatisfied with the situation due to falling wages and massively rising prices.

The Kremlin Party, United Russia, was held responsible in advance.

Your polls were below 30 percent.

The polls were overshadowed by hundreds of complaints about massive violations.

The Interior Ministry said 750 complaints had been received.

There were no serious violations.

In contrast, the opposition around Navalny accused the Kremlin party of electoral fraud.

She feels reminded of the 2011 vote, when "our election was stolen," wrote Navalnyj's spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch on Twitter.

“It's impossible to come to terms with it.” Navalnyj confidante Leonid Volkov said: “These elections are dirtier than the 2011 one - much dirtier.

Lots of evidence of electoral fraud

Independent observers from the Golos organization had listed thousands of violations across the country - mostly with photo and video recordings. The Golos expert Andrei Busin called the extent "significant", especially in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg. There, people literally fought for their votes, as can be seen on videos. In many cases ballot boxes were crammed with pre-filled ballot papers. There were also reports of compulsory voting, for example among government employees, as well as multiple votes.

The central election commission announced that it would investigate the complaints.

More than 8,500 ballots had been canceled by Sunday evening, it said.

Election supervisor Ella Pamfilowa said that twelve cases have so far been confirmed in which packs of ballot papers have been stuffed into the urns.

Even the communists, who had hoped for an increase in votes in view of the widespread dissatisfaction with the Kremlin's policies, complained of violations in many cases.

They announced protests.

Golos observer Busin said that the election control would make small concessions, but would not fundamentally question the vote.

Election management, like the courts and all levels of decision-making, are under the control of the Kremlin, he said.

The opposition around Navalnyj, which was excluded from the election, had called for a protest vote against United Russia.

Criticism of Youtube for blocking

To the annoyance of the Kremlin opponents, the Internet giants Google, Youtube, Apple and the news channel Telegram had deleted the Navalnyj team's recommendations for “smart voting”.

Specific names were given for which voters should vote.

The content banned by the authorities was still available on Twitter.

The Navalnyj team resisted criticism that it advertised for communist applicants, for example.

At the moment - in view of the expulsion of the opposition - it is the only chance to break the monopoly on power of United Russia, said Navalnyj's colleague Volkov.

"We will definitely live in a Russia where you can vote for good candidates with different programs," he said.

Police officers were increasingly on duty in the capital Moscow on election days.

Barriers were ready around the Red Square at the Kremlin, apparently in case of protests.

New regional and city parliaments were also elected.

In the total of more than 4,400 elections, more than 31,000 new mandates were awarded.

This time observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were not represented because they did not agree with the conditions and the small number of authorized experts.

In this huge empire, election observation is particularly labor-intensive.

Russia had justified the restrictions for Western observers with the corona pandemic. Because of the danger posed by the virus, the vote was scheduled for three days so that voters can keep social distance and hygiene rules. Critics accuse the authorities of making manipulation easier because ballot boxes can hardly be checked at night, for example.

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