ON THE GROUND

Putin's United Russia party more unpopular than ever ahead of parliamentary elections

Opposition activist Elena Pariy talking to a Russian in the central region of the Urals.
Opposition activist Elena Pariy talking to a Russian in the central region of the Urals. © FRANCE 24 screengrab

Russia is voting in its general election on the second of three days for a new parliament, as well as some local and regional bodies. Although Vladimir Putin's United Russia party is largely expected to win, opinion polls show that in reality, the president’s party has never been less popular, as our correspondents in the Urals region report.

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When opposition activist Elena Pariy tries to talk to Russians about the United Russia party, all she gets is “no comment”, silence, or “of course not”, when asked if they will be voting for President Putin’s party.

“Public opinion is radically changing. It's because of the pensions reform, in particular, and the constitutional amendments. And the additional subsidies paid out before the elections – lots of people saw them as a bribe,” Pariy said.

Many say the latest pension reform was a measure that shattered opinions. For example, one Russian woman, Olga, was looking forward to getting her meagre pension to top up her earnings from odd jobs, but the reform means she now won't be getting it for another eight years. “They gave 10,000 rubles to the pensioners, who now can't decide whether to spend it on pants or socks,” she said bitterly.

Click on the player above to watch this special report from our correspondents Gulliver Cragg and Elena Volochine in the Urals region in central Russia.

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