Putin Wins Russia Vote in Landslide

Putin Wins Russia Vote in Landslide

President Vladimir Putin easily won a second term in elections Sunday with 69 percent of the vote, according to an exit poll, confirming widespread expectations of a landslide victory. Just minutes after polls closed, a major fire erupted in a 19th-century landmark building off Red Square.

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Assured of victory, Putin was looking for a powerful turnout to further strengthen his grip over Russia — already tightened by his appointment of a loyal new Cabinet just before the vote and by December parliamentary elections that gave the main pro-Kremlin party full control over lawmaking.

Putin, who reined in Russia’s independent media following his first election in 2000, dominated the nationwide television networks before the vote. His five challengers received less coverage, adding to the widespread impression that the vote was a one-horse race.

“I voted for Putin because he is going to win anyway and what is the point in voting for someone else,” said financial inspector Yelena Chebakova, 31, one of a handful of early voters at a Moscow polling station.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he was concerned with a lack of openness in Russia’s presidential election and “a level of authoritarianism creeping back” into Russian society.

But he said he did not think Russia was reverting to the hard-line ways of the former Soviet Union.

I disagree. Russia doesn’t have free elections, a free press, or the ability for opposition parties to run in any meaningful way. There is no meaningful sense in which they’re a democracy.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steven says:

    Ah, come on, Putin’s just really, really popular!

  2. Teresa says:

    Why Putin is getting close to being just as popular in Russia as Sadam was in Iraq. Although maybe he’s not killing off as many people to get there (yet).

  3. akim says:

    Putin is bad, but he’s nowhere as bad as Yeltsin was. If you think for a moment what a massive pauperisation Boris caused in Russia it is a wonder that he – and his brand of runaway democracy – lasted as long as it did.

    Some say that Bush is as good as Saddam.I can see why – compared to Clinton.

  4. Tiger says:

    As I stated a few days ago, Putin is a super tsar 😉