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Sunday's elections in Russia were about determining the Russian Duma (parliament) for the next five years. The need for an overwhelming mandate for the governing party, Единая Россия, in the Duma elections was seen as essential, however on Eve of Russian Duma elections, one thing was clear: United Russia’s popularity continued to shrink. According to official results, the United Russia, so-called "Putin Party" or, in terms of opposition, “Party of Thieves and Swindlers” won 49.3 percent of the vote in December 4 parliamentary elections, with 99.99 percent of the ballots counted, and is slated to get 238 seats. That's a drop of 14 per cent and a loss of 77 seats. In 2007, United Russia received 64.3 per cent of the vote, giving it a supermajority of 315 seats.

After the Duma elections are complete, “carousel” seems to be the word of the day. In English this word has the following meanings “a merry-go-round, as one at an amusement park,” “a baggage carousel in an airport” and “a playful tournament of knights in chariots or on horseback." In Russian карусель in its current usage refers to false voting by a group of specially prepared people.

Since the day of the elections, Russian internet has run stories, in which it claimed that the reporters had uncovered schemes, apparently planned by United Russia, to conduct illegal throw-ins of ballots (вброс бюллетеней) at the polling stations(избирательные участки) in Moscow.

Watch the video recorded on the day of the elections. According to the report, some obscure political specialists had gathered a group of people, and handed them special secret pockets and packs of filled ballots, marked for United Russia. Some useful steps in watching this episode: Preparing: read the newspaper or online information on Russian Duma elections (in Russian or English). Predicting: from what you recently heard or read, make predictions about the topics that might come up. Focusing: focus only on the different situations mentioned. After listening, collect them on the piece of paper and make more detailed predictions about thesituations. Listen again. It is not necessary to understand every single word in order to understand the news. Getting the gist of a piece of news is often enough to be informed. However it is important to emphasize that there is no quick and easy way to achieve this goal. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get there. Sharing information: in class, share the information you were able to understand -- talk about names of people, about situations and actions, about special words. Discussing: After listening to the news talk about some of the information given. Use new words and get some more background information about interesting issues. This might lead to a broader discussion about political climate in Russia.

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