A campaign banner for Vladimir Putin that says “For Putin! And That’s It!” hangs in Moscow. Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images.
Russians vote Sunday in a presidential election that many expect will bring Vladimir Putin back into office. Protesters, angry at the way they say parliamentary elections in December squeezed out opposition candidates, have vowed to continue demanding reforms and a new vote.
We’ve been covering the action leading up to the election on the NewsHour and will have a special online report from our team in Moscow on Sunday.
In the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Putin’s United Russia party lost the two-thirds majority it had going into the election, but maintained an absolute majority — winning slightly more than half the seats in the State Duma, the lower house of the legislature.
A report from election observers at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the elections were skewed toward the ruling party because other political parties had trouble registering and there were some instances of ballot-stuffing.
In response, tens of thousands have carried out nearly daily protests, forming human chains around roadways and rallying in Moscow city squares.
Russian dissident blogger Alexei Navalny said on Wednesday’s NewsHour that the protests will continue after the election. “I do not know what the scale of the protest will be, but the fact that it will continue is quite obvious. It doesn’t matter how they count the votes, because all candidates should have been able to participate in the elections.”
Watch his full appearance:
- Laura Lynch of PRI’s The World visits the small town of Vladimir, where Putin can count on support.
- In another report, Lynch describes who the protesters are and what’s motivating them.
- The BBC offers profiles of Prime Minister Putin and one of his main challengers, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
- Reuters has a timeline of the ups and downs of Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev’s political careers.