December 1, 2007 2:00 am
Russians vote in parliamentary polls tomorrow amid heavy official pressure to ensure a big turnout and majority for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, and opposition warnings of "mass falsifications", write Neil Buckley and Catherine Belton.
President Vladimir Putin's decision to head United Russia's ticket has raised the stakes for the Kremlin, turning the elections into a referendum on his rule. Turnout of less than 50 per cent, and less than 60 per cent support for the pro-Kremlin party, will be seen as significant setbacks.
Garry Kasparov, a Putin critic, said the poll would be a farce and "absolutely illegitimate" as the authorities were preparing to rig the vote. The former chess champion spoke hours after being released from detention for organising an opposition rally. He urged Russians to spoil their ballot papers.
Mr Putin pledged that the poll would be fair, while officials have denied unfair intervention in the campaign.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.