Russians go to polls to choose a new Parliament
About 110 million voters are called to appoint 450 deputies of the Lower House of Parliament (Duma) in a test vote for Russian prime minister, who is preparing to return to Kremlin in 2012, after two terms as president (2000-2008 ), amid a decline in popularity.
Voting offices were opened at 08.00 local time (06.00 GMT) in Moscow and other large regions of the country, the largest in the world, which spans nine time zones, and will close at 17:00 GMT in the west.
In addition to United Russia, three other parties that are part of the current assembly - the Communist Party, Liberal Democratic Party and Russia Right (center left) - would exceed the minimum threshold of 7 percent to get back into the Duma.
Iabloko opposition party, credited with 4 percent of the vote, is unlikely to enter the Parliament. Regarding the liberal opposition party Parnassos, it was excluded from voting and asked, as the radical opposition, boycotting elections or null vote in protest.
In Ciukotka region of Far North-east, near the polar circle, "voters come to vote for a temperature of minus 26 degrees Celsius and less wind," said a local official, Konstantin Mikhailov.
In Vladivostok, Nikolai Ponomarev NCOs said he voted for United Russia, "In spring, my family received an apartment in a new district," he said, subliminal that defends Putin's party army and expected to increase salary in January.
Instead, Anastasia Levcenko voted for Russia in 2007 right after Putin's party has opted for "I am disappointed, there was almost nothing in four years," said the retired 62-year-old.
United Russia, which dominates the political scene closed a decade, would lose two-thirds majority in the Duma, which allowed him, if necessary, amend the Constitution.
According to a recent independent survey institute Levada, the party of Vladimir Putin, whose list is headed by President Dmitry Medvedev, was credited with 56 percent of voting intentions in November, after losing 12 points in a month.
Faced with this situation, the authorities tried to mobilize voters by all means, exerting pressure on the administration and employees, according to the opposition and several NGOs.
To prevent any dispute meeting, pro-Kremlin youth movement godparents (Ours) announced that it will collect up to 15,000 militants in central Moscow at the time of elections to "neutralize" any action to contest the elections.