Russia election

Vladimir Putin was not running for office, but parliamentary elections held yesterday in Russia were widely seen as a test of his popularity amid his likely return to the presidency. Election observers and opposition parties pointed to rampant irregularities in the vote, which saw support for his United Russia party plummet. Results in the heavily disputed poll show United Russia still in control, albeit with a much slimmer mandate. Gathered here are images of protests, rallies, and the vote as Russians took to the ballot all over the country with charges of fraud and malfeasance clouding the vote. -- Lane Turner (32 photos total)Elizaveta Semenova is helped by her daughter to fill in a ballot at her home in the village of Oster, Russia on December 4, 2011. Russians cast their ballots with muted enthusiasm in national parliamentary elections, a vote that polls indicate could water down the strength of the party led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, despite the government's relentless marginalization of opposition groups. (Sergei Grits/AP)