extracts that i came across from 'a russian diary' by anna politkovskaya, (the prominent russian journalist killed in october 2006) were informative, to say the least (largely because of my woeful ignorance of russian (and european for that matter) politics).
politkovskaya describes the dismal state of russian voters at the time of the 2003 duma elections- "the electorate agreed to be treated like an idiot"; the increase in violence and rascist propaganda; and most fascinating, the apparent abduction and drugging of presidential candidate ivan rybkin. she destroys any notion of russia moving towards genuine democracy.
her book will definitely be on my to-read list. you can find the extracts here.