The early results are in, and United Russia seems to have suffered surprising electoral losses in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
United Russia, the governing party of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, suffered surprisingly steep losses in parliamentary elections on Sunday and was barely clinging to a 50 percent majority, with nearly three-quarters of the votes counted.
The three minority parties that now hold seats in Parliament — the Communist Party, the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and Just Russia, a social democratic party — all made strong gains, meaning that United Russia would have little choice but to forge a working relationship with at least some segment of the newly empowered opposition.
Puting/Medvedev losing the ability to summarily make decisions and changes to Russian law is a pretty major change from the last 12 years, but there’s no need to pop champagne and declare an end to Putin’s tyranny just yet. United Russia maintains a slim majority, so the need for it to form a ruling coalition is pretty small, and gives it a lot of leverage.
However Russia’s parliamentary coalitions shake out, one thing is for sure: Russian politics are about to get a whole helluva lot more interesting over the next few months.