Putin foes get a drubbing in key Moscow suburb vote
RUSSIA: The pro-Kremlin candidate was declared winner Monday
in a poll on the outskirts of Moscow that was embraced by the opposition
as a chance to lodge a high-profile presence near the seat of Russian
The Khimki District vote on the northwestern edge of Moscow was one
of a slate conduced Sunday across Russia for the first time since
President Vladimir Putin was overwhelmingly swept to power for a third
term in March.
The ruling United Russia party that Putin founded and which is now
headed by his premier and predecessor Dmitry Medvedev was leading most
of the races despite sporadic reports of violations by the candidates
The Khimki election was of particular interest to the opposition
because the Moscow suburb was the site of months of protests against the
destruction of part of a forest to build a new Kremlin-backed road.
Those well-organised but at times violent standoffs spawned a new
generation of anti-Kremlin leaders who later spearheaded the broader
swell of street discontent that rose against Putin last winter.
The opposition has been trying to maintain traction since Putinís
return but has suffered from periodically flagging attendance at protest
rallies and the blow of new Kremlin legislation limiting their rights.