Duma elections

Farid Babayev, a candidate of pro-democratic party "Yabloko" in Dagestan, was wounded by four bullets. The gunman was not detained. Babayev is now in hospital and his condition is "serious but stable".

The chairman of the Political Council of SPS (Union of Rightist Forces) party Nikita Belykh said on November 20 that his party is attacked by the Russian power. He said that some SPS candidates, including the leaders of the regional branches in Pskov, Ulyanovsk, Dagestan, Krasnodar and other places, were forced to leave the party under the pressure of the state officials. Currently, SPS has only 85 regional branches and the law requires that the party with less than 80 regional branches may not participate in the Duma elections. November 16 was the last day when the candidates could refuse to participate in the elections. After this date, the pressure on the SPS candidates stopped.

The Political Council of SPS adds that more than 15,000,000 copies of leaflets and newspapers of SPS were arrested and the typographies were closed. The PR companies are "advised" not to work with SPS. The press-release also mentions arrests of the party activists, searches in their apartments, arsons of the party offices and private apartments, violent attacks on the campaigners, etc. Russian EMERCOM (Ministry for extraordinary situations) runs training missions near the SPS headquarters. Unknown people demonstratively write down the plate numbers of the cars arriving to the HQ. Anti-SPS propagandists accuse the party in the propaganda of extremism and homosexualism, left populism and bribery.

Tonight, another anti-SPS campaign was started in Moscow. In the middle of the night, unknown people called the cell phones of the citizens and ran a recorded message offering them to vote for SPS. According to the information supplied by SPS, they have a copy of the plan of the election campaign of United Russia, which features "actions against the telephone terrorism of SPS".

The Perm regional office of the Public Prosecutor reported that they have found the office of SPS "shadow HQ", where they discovered unnamed documents. These documents confirm that SPS has spent 1.5 million rubles above the limit defined by the law. In Tomsk, the local newspaper of SPS was arrested. The court has ruled that the comparison of the Russian authorities and Hitler is illegal and anti-constitutional.

The things could be even worse, though :). The SPS election TV clip was discussed by the Central Election Committee. The so called Democratic Party of Russia accused SPS in the violation of the law which prohibits negative information and comments about other parties. The Election Committee dismissed the accusations.

Now, some more polls. VTsIOM sociological centre (whose board of managers includes some representatives of the presidential administration) reviews the results of the TV debates. During the last week (from November 10 till November 17) the number of people who watched the debates, has increased from 10-13% to 10-20%. 20% watched the debates of Liberal-Democratic party (a week ago there were 13%). 15% watched the Communist party (12% last week) and the Fair Russia (10% a week ago). 10% saw the debates of SPS and Yabloko. 9% followed the debates of Patriots of Russia and the Civil Force. 6-8% watched the Party of Social Justice, Agrarian party and Democratic party. The most stunning results were achieved by United Russia. 8% saw their debates (13% last week). Perhaps, I should remind that United Russia refused to participate in the debates. In spite of this brilliant isolation, 69% of those who "saw" their debates liked them, which is the best result. The only party whose approval rate has increased is the LDPR (from 39% to 51%). The Agrarian and the Communist parties have stable approval rates (60% and 47%). All other parties approval rates have decreased. The Democratic party has 19%, Yabloko has 26% and SPS has 28%.

"Public Opinion" foundation (FOM) forecasts the following results of the elections. Turnout will be 58-59%. Of them, 62% will vote for United Russia, 11% for the Liberal-Democratic party, 10% for the Communist party, 7-8% for Fair Russia, 2-3% for the Agrarian party, 1-2% for SPS and for Yabloko, 1% for the Patriots of Russia, less than 1% for Civil Force, Democratic party and Party of Social Justice.

The poll held by Levada Centre gives the following results. 67% for UR, 14% for the Communists, 6% for LDPR, 4% for Fair Russia. 48% think that the elections will only imitate the political struggle, but the seats in Duma will be assigned by the power. UR and FR are seen as new parties with fresh ideas, while the Communists, LDPR, SPS and Yabloko have the image of "outdated" parties.

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