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Putin Urges Russians To Vote In Upcoming Parliamentary Elections

President Vladimir Putin has called on Russians to go to the polls on September 18 to elect a new State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

"I call on you to come to polling stations, to vote, to express your position," Putin said in a September 15 televised address.

"Participation in the voting is a civil duty for each of us, a manifestation of our sincere feelings toward our country and care for its future," he added.

Despite the country's economy struggling with its longest recession in two decades, the ruling United Russia and other pro-Kremlin parties are expected to secure victory in the nationwide polls, but widespread apathy means voter turnout could be low.

Also on September 15, Central Election Commission head Ella Pamfilova pledged to resign if there are widespread voting violations.

"I'm confident that [the elections] will be better than before because I know what we have done in the regions," Pamfilova said. "If I fail in this election, of course I will resign."

The last time Russia held parliamentary elections, in 2011, Moscow erupted in mass protests over vote-rigging. The authorities responded by cracking down on dissent.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and TASS