Russia held its first parliamentary elections in five years yesterday. President Putin’s ruling party, United Russia, won by a larger-than-expected margin. After widespread protests followed the last United Russia landslide in 2011, government officials set certain measures to make elections more transparent. But critics say Russia is attempting to appear more democratic while consolidating power and stifling dissent.
Ilya Ponomarev joins us to talk about the recent elections in Russia. Until this past summer, Ponomarev was a member of the Russian parliament representing Novosibirsk. After being the sole member of parliament to vote against Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, a series of laws were passed to remove him from office. He has since lived in exile in Ukraine and the United States.