United Russia loses ground, as the Communist Party gains it. Here are the main results of Sunday’s regional elections.

On September 9, eighty regions across Russia held elections at different levels, including 22 gubernatorial races, 16 legislative assembly races, and 12 races for the city councils of regional centers. Seven single-mandate districts also held special elections for seats in the State Duma. Unexpectedly, gubernatorial competitors succeeded in forcing runoff elections in four regions where candidates backed by the authorities failed to win more than 50 percent.

‘Corruption is stealing our pensions’. Photos of Russia’s September 9 police crackdown on nationwide protests against raising the retirement age

On Sunday, September 9, supporters of the anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny staged protests across Russia against the government’s plans to raise the country’s retirement age. In many places, demonstrators marched where local elections were taking place for city council members, mayors, and governors. Most of the protests did not have permits from town officials, and police arrested hundreds of demonstrators nationwide. Some cities even witnessed violent clashes between law enforcement and activists. Meduza presents the following photos from rallies across the country.

The Real Russia. Today. How Boris Nemtsov’s last political party died, Kremlin-funded rap videos, and Medvedchuk’s sugar momma

“Parnas” (the People’s Freedom Party) was built on the foundation of one of Russia’s oldest liberal political parties: the Republican Party of Russia. In the 1990s, RPR had seats in the State Duma, but in 2007 it lost its registration, not long after lawmakers imposed a minimum membership threshold on political parties that RPR couldn’t reach.

Ahead of elections, St. Petersburg officials withdraw protest permit issued to opponents of Russian pension reform

City officials in St. Petersburg have withdrawn a permit issued for a September 9 protest against the Russian government’s plan to raise the country’s retirement age. The mayor’s office says a nearby water main burst, flooding a roadway that leads into Lenin Square, where the demonstration is scheduled to take place. The authorities say organizers can hold their rally at Udelny Park (about five miles farther from the city’s center), but any attempt to stage the event at Lenin Square will be treated as an illegal public assembly.

The Kremlin paid two million rubles for this rap video

The Kremlin’s domestic policy machinations often lead the Putin administration down some strange PR roads. For example, Meduza has written before about the authorities’ hopes to recruit Elizaveta Gyrdymova — aka “Monetochka” (Lil’ Coin) — as the country’s next pop star. That initiative hit a bump in the road earlier this summer when Gyrdymova bowed out of a concert linked to the Defense Ministry, but the Kremlin’s efforts to build inroads with popular musicians aren’t limited to one talent.

United Russia’s new initiative to allocate seized assets to the Pension Fund would prolong the country’s retirement system by a whopping 15 minutes

On September 6, United Russia introduced federal legislation that would allocate money seized in corruption cases to the country’s Pension Fund. According to Andrey Turchak, the acting secretary of the party’s General Council, the scheme could raise more than 1.2 billion rubles ($17.3 million) over the next six years, if state confiscations since 2012 are any indication.

The Real Russia. Today. A Moscow spokesperson endorses a foolish conspiracy theory about the Salisbury suspects, Russia pension politics get real, and Navalny drops another report from jail

Following the British government’s announcement on Wednesday that it has identified two Russian suspects in the attack on Sergey Skripal, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova went on state television and ridiculed the published evidence, calling it “God-level trolling.”