Bittersweet Victory for Russia's Ruling Party

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Elections in Russia give the ruling United Russia party about 50% of the votes, but a loss of 70 seats in the State Duma or lower chamber. The results raise questions about the future of the ruling party.

As a result of parliamentary elections in Russia, the ruling party has kept its leadership in the State Duma, the lower chamber.

However, with under 50% of the votes, it has fallen short of the 2007 election results and is forecast to lose over 70 seats in the parliament.

Still, the United Russia party will hold the majority of votes and will be able to adopt laws.

Political experts in Russia say the ruling party won the battle, but lost people's hearts, because the elections were marred with numerous violations - all in favor of United Russia.

[Dmitry Oreshkin, Political Expert]:
"I would say that it is a defeat of the power vertical of the model that assumes that there are mindless people and a group of gifted, rich and decisive people who rule the latter for their own good. This ideology somehow is no longer popular."

Political experts say that today the real voting numbers for United Russia should be no more than 35% and that additional votes were acquired through rigging.

Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs registered over 2,000 violations on election day.

European observers also decried rigging and obstruction of their work.

Election violations are not new to Russia, but this marks the first time that the Russian people have such a negative reaction to them.

The election also showed that support for "United Russia" is spreading to the provinces and to the countryside.

Experts believe that the party is losing the votes of the active urban population.

[Stanislav Belkovsky, Political Scientist]:
"The split between the active part of society and the government took place...

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