The parliamentary election that were held this weekend have so far produced many questions. Where they fair? How would they affect the Kremlin? And most importantly why were they held?
Clearly this weeks election has proven a conundrum to many international commentators. Yes, voices have been heard around the world that the elections were rigged. Even Angela Merckel has come out and said "measured by our standards, it was neither a free, fair nor democratic election". Considering that Putin's approval rating is over 80% there really was no obvious reason to call the election.
There are questions concerning power change that will soon have to take place. Putin has so far not attempted to make any constitutional changes to allow him to carry on his mandate as President. Apparently he has chosen the less obtrusive option of maintaining power by becoming the Prime Minister. Again this question leaves no clear explanation for the call for elections.
However, the elections could have been an attempt by Putin to consolidate his forces within the Kremlin itself and to stave off conflicts between the different clans. Recently several cracks have appeared within Putin's faction inside the Kremlin. Apparently several people have been sacked and lines been drawn between several high ranking officials. Two months ago a high ranking general of the drug fighting agency was arrested by the FSB which lead to serious infighting among high ranking Kremlin members. The election therefore could have been an attempt by Putin to show his power with the people and to squash opposition within his own faction. Also some of the clans have recently been acting up and the election could also have served to show them who is in charge.