Voters throughout Russia are casting their ballots in dozens of native elections which might be seen as an enormous take a look at for the ruling pro-Kremlin United Russia social gathering.
Nearly 160,000 candidates are vying for seats in native parliaments. Governors are additionally being elected in lots of areas.
The polls come solely weeks after the suspected poisoning of opposition chief Alexei Navalny with Novichok.
His staff allege this was achieved on the orders of President Vladimir Putin – the Kremlin denies any involvement.
Mr Navalny had been backing key challengers to United Russia, describing it because the “social gathering of crooks and thieves”.
His staff have been urging Russians to vote tactically to channel assist in the direction of candidates greatest positioned to defeat United Russia.
In some locations, these are folks affiliated with Mr Navalny himself, whereas in different areas they’re communist or nationalist challengers, the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in Moscow experiences.
Mr Navalny’s camp believes this marketing campaign might be why he was attacked, our correspondent says.
She provides that United Russia has turn into more and more unpopular, related to a controversial pension reform, falling incomes – and corruption.
Russia’s electoral fee allowed early voting on 11-12 September due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But Sunday is the principle day for tens of tens of millions of voters throughout 11 time zones, with greater than 56,000 polling stations ready.
They are additionally seen as a dry run for elections to the nationwide parliament subsequent yr.
The authorities have been then accused of a heavy-handed response to the rallies, which noticed a few of greater than 1,000 folks arrested obtain sentences of as much as 4 years in jail.