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Feature: Russians brave winter cold to vote for new parliament

(Xinhua)

10:20, December 05, 2011

MOSCOW, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Shivering in cold wind outside a polling station in the Russian capital Sunday morning, 20-year-old Yelena Tarasova was determined to endure all the hardships of her job as an observer in the State Duma elections.

Tarasova, a local student, was hired by the Socium sociological center in the Moscow region to conduct exit-polls. The young blonde asked voters leaving the polling station located in a school building who they voted for.

The early voters were mainly elderly pensioners in winter coats, Tarasova said.

Seventy-year-old Alexander Mukhanov, a retiree living in Moscow, said he voted for the major opposition Communist Party as he hoped his pension could be raised.

"There are the education and medical issues. We got great achievement in the Soviet time and many things were free. But now I don't know whether there is still any tuition-free university in Russia" he said.

Founded in June 1990 as part of the former Soviet Union's communist party, the Communist Party calls for a stronger role by the state in the political, economic and social spheres and higher pensions and wages.

Yelena Merkulova, a 40-year-old Moscow resident, said she voted for the social-democratic Yabloko party, although she knows this small faction has almost no chance of winning.

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