Russia’s ruling United Russia party lost one fifth of its support, although it retained its majority in parliament, partial results on Monday showed.
With 33% of ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said United Russia had won just over 45% of the vote, with its nearest rival, the Communist Party, at around 22%.
The nationalist LDPR party won around 9%.
The result represents a weaker performance for United Russia.
In 2016, when a parliamentary election was held in 2016, United won over 54% of the vote.
A malaise over years of faltering living standards and allegations of corruption from jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have drained some support.
A tactical voting campaign organised by Navalny’s allies appears to have inflicted further damage.
Kremlin critics said the vote was in any case a sham and that United Russia would have fared much worse in a fair contest, given a pre-election crackdown that outlawed Navalny’s movement, barred his allies from running and targeted critical media and non-governmental organisations.
The result looks unlikely to change the political landscape, with Putin, who has been in power as president or prime minister since 1999, still dominating ahead of the next presidential election in 2024. Putin has yet to say whether he will run.
The 68-year-old leader remains a popular figure with many Russians who credit him with standing up to the West and restoring national pride. -Agency report.