On September 18, 2016, Russia will hold its first parliamentary (Duma) elections since the 2011 Duma elections led to massive street protests. Since 2011, the Russian government has cracked down on the political opposition and dissenting voices. Under President Vladimir Putin’s increasingly authoritarian rule, the Kremlin has directed police and military resources to silence challenges to the regime: Russian opposition leaders, journalists, and activists are routinely harassed, attacked, surveilled, and even killed. Boris Nemtsov’s murder in February 2015 was the most prominent and shocking example of the dangers opposition politicians face in modern Russia. At the same time, the Russian economy continues to stagnate. In this context, support for President Putin’s United Russia party has been declining even as Putin’s own approval ratings remain high. The upcoming Duma elections could be an opportunity for the opposition. To understand the significance of the elections, the Atlantic Council invites you to join a unique virtual discussion on September 14, 2016, 2:00-3:30 p.m. via YouTube with Russian opposition members, journalists, and experts who will join directly from Russia. 

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