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The Sunday Indian
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Russian Elections Special
 In Prokhorov, they trust!
  From outside, he is everything an average Moscow protester protest about: rich, flashy, oligarch and apparently close to the Kremlin. But it is in him that they have put their trust forma more liberalized and democratic Russia. He was supposed to do well in this election. Not strictly in numbers as hardly anyone knows him outside metros; but in visibility. When the final results were tabulated, he stood third behind Putin and his Communist contender. But it is being largely held that while Putin won Russia, he won the heart. Welcome to the world of Mikhail Prokhorov

 A tale of two extremists
  Among all the brouhaha over Putin's win and the possible irregularities, the media seemed to have forgotten two stalwarts who have bitten dust, just again. This election in general did not expect to bring any surprise apart from a few from bubble-gum generation who thought that Prokhorov will see the day in entire Russia.

 Putin wins Russia, and convincingly
  There are things one never expects to see in life and then witnesses it when he or she is least expecting it. Yesterday, amidst the exhilarating crowd at Manezh square near Kremlin following near certain Putin victory in the presidential poll, what I was expecting was a solid dose of rhetoric, hands pumping in the air and of course anti-Americanism.

 Russia votes as violence looms
  It is not easy to conduct polls in Russia; physically or otherwise. To start with, you need to negotiate with the 11 time zones that the country has. After that is settled, you need to coordinate the foreign ballots that are cast in Russian Embassies and consulates all over the world.

 Vladimir Zhirinovsky: A clown or a Neo-Fascist?
  Imagine a Russian president who is persona non grata (PNG) in half a dozen neighbouring states, aspires annexing all the former Soviet Union republics and promises people bounties ranging from free vodka to 'police state'. Imagine Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Kremlin.

 Chronic demographic problem greets contestants
  Amidst all the brouhaha over corruption, democratization and economic stability, there is one electoral issue that seems to have largely missed the media radar here in Russia. Although it might sound non-serious, probably even trivial, the issue was declared in 2006 as the "single biggest problem facing Russia” by none other than Vladimir Putin, then the president. It’s Russia’s chronic demographic decline.

 Why big cities hate Putin?
  Journalists covering elections here in Russia tend to suffer from a pretty common syndrome: the capital city syndrome. It is a common occurrence and tends to affect journalists who focus largely on capital cities of the countries going for polls and refrain from venturing out of the city. More often than not, it gives a rather skewed picture. And Russia is no exception.

 Putin grows stronger every passing day
  The mood in Moscow remains lively even as the city shivers under sub-zero temperature. After all, it is not every day that you get to elect your president. This election has become livelier also because there is a whiff of genuine opposition in the air. Russians would vote on Sunday to elect the President.

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