President Vladimir Putin spent his formative years as a member of the Soviet KGB where he learned that elections serve the purpose of providing evidence that those who run the nation are still in charge and those who oppose rulers now have evidence they will spend their days and nights in opposition. He just pushed through a new election process which ensures those in charge of the government will remain in charge of the nation. In the 21011 election his United Russia lost seats in Parliament but maintained their majority.
Putin is not accustomed to be part of elections in which the majority loses their majority, let alone loses any seats in the Duma. Don’t opposition party leaders grasp their role in the charade is to run for public office, and lose–gracefully. THAT is why we have elections in Russia!