Russia's Election Surprise

Putin gets a boost as a new centrist party scores a coup

Russia is not a land accustomed to elections--to say nothing of electoral surprises. But last week the country got a big one. Within an hour of the polls' closing in Russian parliamentary elections Sunday night, a new and fairly mysterious party called Unity took the lead and held it for most of the night as results came in from across Russia's 11 time zones. And though in the final tally Unity had slipped behind the Communist Party, it was an astounding upset. A group that was founded just three months ago and that had scarcely campaigned will be a major force...

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