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First meeting of newly elected lower house of Russian parliament


First meeting of newly elected lower house of Russian parliament

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Photo: Andrei Nikerichev/Moskva News Agency

Russia’s newly elected lower house of parliament will meet for the first time today.

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won 324 of the State Duma’s 450 seats in September’s elections. 19 fewer than it won in the 2016 elections, the overwhelming majority gives the party the power to make changes to the Russian constitution.

United Russia faces compounding challenges, including economic stagnation, rising inflation, the ongoing pandemic and environmental disasters. Retaining control of the Duma was seen as crucial for Putin and his party ahead of the 2024 presidential election. In July, the Duma approved a constitutional amendment to allow Putin to run for another term.

Expect this incarnation of the Duma to continue serving as a rubber stamp parliament for the Kremlin, approving Putin’s desired legislation as he gears up for 2024. Its questionable return to power follows rising public disapproval with United Russia, and the party will likely introduce legislation to placate dissatisfied voters, such as laws combating climate change, a topic Putin focuses on with increasing public frequency. Still, rising household costs weigh heavily on voters. Expect a continuation of food price caps to engender further public support, though this is only a short-term solution.

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