The parliamentary campaigns start on September 1, 2003, the and presidential campaign - on December 10, 2003, Head of the Russian Central Elections Commission Alexander Veshnyakov said to the conference on co-operation between elections commissions, state bodies and civil institutes in guaranteeing suffrage. Veshnyakov said that the upgrade of a system allowing for on-line tallies would be completed before the campaigns start. He also mentioned that 37 political federal parties had the right to take part in general and regional elections. Over 18 months after the federal law on political parties came into force, more than 70 constituent and reorganisation party conferences have been held. As many as 51 political parties have been registered with the Justice Ministry. Only 37 parties with their regional branches meeting the required standard can take part in elections at difference levels, Veshnyakov said.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23