5 December 2011
The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has suffered an unexpected setback in parliamentary elections. His party, United Russia, has won just under 50% of the vote.
Click to hear the report
For Vladimir Putin this is uncharted territory. He's grown used to being Russia's most popular and powerful politician - completely in control. But his political party has stuttered at the polls.
United Russia will remain the largest single party in the new parliament but it will have fewer seats. Its share of the vote has dropped from 64% to around 50%. And that amid widespread allegations of vote rigging in favour of the ruling party.
That will come as an embarrassment to Mr Putin, just three months before he runs again for Russian president. He's almost certain to win the presidential election next March.
But the parliamentary poll reflects a growing fatigue with a leader who has dominated the Russian political stage for more than a decade.
Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow
Click to hear the vocabulary
- unchartered territory
an unfamiliar situation
- in control
has power to give orders and make decisions
gone through in an unsure way, with stop and start
- widespread allegations
a great number of statements not yet proven saying that illegal or improper things were done
- vote rigging
dishonest way of influencing the result of an election through tampering with the vote
- an embarrassment
bound to cause shame
- political stage
arena of politics