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The "systemic opposition" is mainly composed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), A Just Russia — For Truth (SRZP), New People and other minor parties; these political groups, while theoretically claiming to be in opposition, generally support the government's policies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_Vladimir_Putin_in_Russia

Wikipedia claims that these opposition group support Putin, but I am wondering how the Russian government manages to make these group toe the line and what kind of autonomy do these groups have? I am wondering if they're just for show and pretend to be the opposition, or it's a little more complicated than that and they actually have a more independent voice.

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In Russia there's what's called the "systemic opposition" comprised of those parties you have mentioned, and the "unsystemic" one. The systemic opposition is there in place to make an image of at least some choice and democracy, they make some opposition-like claims within some bounds but overall have a little effect in what is happening. That does not apply to each single member of those parties, but the vast majority stay in line with the government's ideas.

This process has took quite some time, given that back in 2000 a person not from a governing party might have become a president, but in the next 10-15 years things have changed drastically. How exactly was this done I think may require considering several cases with possibly different methods applied, but over the last 10-15 years the generation of people entering those parties might very well had nurtured on how to behave, whereas only the loyal elder members were allowed to stay.

From time to time even new parties are being created for systemic opposition with a very image as some unsystemic people have. Those are often controlled as well from the very inception, and are used to lure the votes of the people with at least some opposition sympathies.

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    Parties that could really challenge Putin have to attack him on his record of corruption and bad government to shake voter apathy. When candidates present some potential to actually win, they have been arrested during demonstrations (Nemtsov). Or fraud investigations have conveniently been opened (Navalny), a common means of pressure in Russia. Even better now, with the "special military operation", attacking national honor will land you in jail. Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 19:51
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica worth mentioning that Nemtsov head killed a couple of years after
    – SBF
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 20:27
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    I am aware of that, but I am currently reading Putin and the author is of the opinion that it was more Kadyrov freelancing and actually embarrassing Putin (Nemtsov wasn't a big political actor by then). So I stuck to what we know was under Putin's direct control. Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 20:31
  • It seems that you wanted to say "have little effect" rather than "have a little effect". These phrases have almost opposite meanings.
    – Zeus
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 3:02

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