Eleven parties to contest Duma elections

The final list of parties who'll take part in Russia's parliamentary elections has been confirmed. The Central Election Committee has named the eleven parties who will contest the countrywide elections in December.

Although mass media campaigning does not officially start until November 3, party leaders and activists are already gearing up for the fight ahead.

Outspoken leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has criticised the Communists ahead of the campaign, accusing them of wanting to 'swallow' up everything in sight. 

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said it would be a big mistake to write off his party.
“People keep expecting our party to disappear, but they see that millions continue to vote for us,” Mr Zyuganov said.
Opinion polls suggest the Communists have a good chance of reaching the seven per cent threshold necessary for representation in the Duma.
United Russia – led by President Putin – is very hands-on in the election game. 
Weekly polls show them to be way ahead of the competition.
At this stage in the campaign, the parties are concentrating on putting across their view of the country's future.
For the Fair Russia party, that future is socialism. And it’s a view that many believe will get a lot of former Communist voters on their side.
While other countries use masses of publicity material and 'freebies’ to woo voters, Russia has frowned on the practice.
But Central Election Committee Head, Vladimir Churov, thinks it's time Russia changed its attitude.
“So far I'm the only one who thinks it is something that our elections could benefit from, but it definitely won't become legitimate in this parliamentary election,” Mr Churov said.
So for this election at least, the eleven registered parties will be relying on their press campaigns and public speeches to swing undecided voters.

The Russian Levada Centre has carried out a survey, asking whether or not the country needs the State Duma.

The poll suggests that 37% of those who replied believe Russia could be governed by the President alone.

Meanwhile 48% of respondents  took the opposite view, considering the Duma necessary.

The remaining 15% said they were undecided.