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BBC News Online
Russia's regions will shape the next parliament and its relationship with the Kremlin. Moscow can no longer afford to ignore the opinion of the local electorates or the views of the powerful regional governors, some of whom wield tremendous influence over voters. For a guide to the regional picture, click the key regions on the map:



The political battle in the Russian capital is always the most highly charged in the country. The region is the most affluent in Russia, and the higher standard of living means that the election results here rarely reflect trends in the rest of the country.

Moscow is a reformers' stronghold. The Communists and the radicals of Vladimir Zhirinovsky got less than 10% of the vote here in the 1995 elections.

In December's election Fatherland-All Russia - the alliance headed by the Mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, and the former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov - took first place in the city. Mr Luzhkov was also re-elected as mayor, with more than 70 per cent of the vote.

Although heavily criticised by rivals, Mr Luzhkov has introduced a successful market economy in Moscow and has gained an international reputation as a skilful administrator.