[JURIST] Human rights groups have expressed concerns about repression and rights violations in the run-up to Russian parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday. Amnesty International (AI), [advocacy website] alleged Wednesday that the Russian government has interfered with opposition parties' rights of freedom of expression and free assembly [AI press release]. It characterized opposition candidate and former chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov - arrested [JURIST report] in Moscow Saturday at an anti-Putin rally - as a prisoner of conscience, and called for his immediate release. Russian human rights group Golos [advocacy website, in Russian] has meanwhile said that election observers have been prevented from effectively observing the elections [Moscow Times article] because of a politically-motivated criminal prosecution. AP has more.
United Russia [party website, in Russian] the political party of Russian President Vladimir Putin [JURIST news archive; official website] has launched a massive publicity campaign [NYT report] to win the elections, which it is already expected to dominate.