A man votes at a polling station in the Kostroma region's gubernatorial election Sunday. Photo: Vladimir Smirnov/TASS via Getty Images

Russians were voting Sunday in local elections seen as a test in the popularity of President Vladimir Putin and the ruling United Russia party that supports him ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

Why it matters: The polls come weeks after Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Alexei Navalny was found to be poisoned with nerve agent Novichok — a calling card of the Russian security services. Navalny had backed United Russia's "key challengers" and was promoting a tactical "smart voting" system before he fell ill, the BBC notes.

Of note: Navalny was taken out of a medically induced coma in Germany last Monday but remains in the hospital under police protection.

  • Russia denies that any crime took place.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Alexander Vindman calls Trump a "useful idiot" for Putin

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served as a key witness in President Trump's impeachment inquiry, told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that he believes Trump is a "useful idiot" and "unwitting agent" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Of note: He doubled down on his comments in an interview with NBC News airing Monday evening, saying Trump's "infatuated" with Putin and that some had described their relationship as "a kind of a love affair."

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,065,728 — Total deaths: 944,604— Total recoveries: 20,423,802Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,674,070 — Total deaths: 197,615 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans would not get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Ina Fried, author of Login
7 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: How the Oracle-TikTok deal would work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An agreement between TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance and Oracle includes a variety of concessions in an effort to make the deal palatable to the Trump administration and security hawks in Congress, according to a source close to the companies.

Driving the news: The deal, in the form of a 20-page term sheet agreed to in principle by the companies, would give Oracle unprecedented access and control over user data as well as other measures designed to ensure that Americans' data is protected, according to the source.