Russia will employ a new proportional system of voting which allows regional areas to have greater voice in the new parliament. A Russian province, in some cases, is as large geographically as a European nation so it is difficult for smaller parties to identify candidates who are known throughout the province. Putin’s United Russia party is already off and running with 600 candidates listed to run for positions. Putin controls the media which, in effect, makes for difficulty in opposition candidates gaining access to television and presenting their ideas to a wider audience. Putin has stacked the deck to ensure the United Russia party and candidates will be known to voters. Putin eliminated election of provincial governors which allowed him to name those officials. He is now having provincial governors listed as candidates for election to the Duma. Any governor who Putin doesn’t like is being “blacklisted” so his name will not appear on the list of candidates.
Russia, which was on the road to becoming a democratic nation in the 1990s, is slowly being transformed into a one party operation. A few opposition candidates will win seats in the Duma for show purposes. Putin is the man in charge for now, and for the coming years.