Vladimir Putin's 'managed democracy' faces key test in Russia
By Fred Weir
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has trumpeted a system of 'managed democracy' that has virtually guaranteed his party's grip on Russian politics – until now. Russians are expected to turn out in large numbers Sunday to choose a new parliament, after a controversial election campaign that the Kremlin describes as a healthy exercise in democracy but which even participating opposition party leaders denounce as little more than a charade.
Russia-watchers will be scrutinizing these polls closely because they represent the pinnacle of "managed democracy," the somewhat paradoxical electoral system constructed over the past decade by Vladimir Putin, which creates the detailed impression of functioning multi-party political competition while ensuring that outcomes fall within a range dictated by the Kremlin.
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