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Putin Keeps Lid on Opposition in Elections as Economy Contracts

Police officers detain protest leader Alexei Navalny outside Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, on February 24, 2014, during a protest against the trial of eight people accused of instigating mass riots after an opposition rally on Moscow's on Bolotnaya square turned violent on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration as president in 2012.

Police officers detain protest leader Alexei Navalny outside Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, on February 24, 2014, during a protest against the trial of eight people accused of instigating mass riots after an opposition rally on Moscow's on Bolotnaya square turned violent on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration as president in 2012.

Photographer: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images

Russia is holding regional polls Sunday in which the opposition complains it’s been shut out as President Vladimir Putin grapples with the country’s first recession in six years.

Alexey Navalny, the opposition leader who almost forced a runoff against a Putin ally for Moscow mayoral elections in 2013, urged supporters to help monitor the voting in the one region his party was able to field candidates.