Russia held the last governor’s election on Sunday before reforms introduced by President Vladimir Putin give the Kremlin the power to nominate the heads of regional governments.
Voters in the northern Nenets autonomous region cast ballots to choose their governor from 15 candidates in the kind of direct election that has been viewed as a pillar of the Russian federation for a decade. (…)
Apart from scrapping gubernatorial polls, Putin has also ordered a change in the rules for registering political parties and electing the nation’s parliament. Critics say the last move has complicated life for his political opposition.
Putin’s critics charge the president has cynically used the Beslan tragedy to roll back democracy and point out that his initiatives come on the back of successful campaigns to quell dissenting opinions in Russia’s raucous media and crush the political ambitions of prominent businessmen.

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