Feature

Why Russians will bother to vote

Presidential candidate Dmitri Medvedev has no real competition, said Francesca Mereu in The Moscow Times, but Russians will show up on March 2 to cast their votes anyway. They have to. Thanks to President Vladimir Putin, regional governors are now appoint

 Francesca MereuThe Moscow Times

Presidential candidate Dmitri Medvedev has no real competition, said Francesca Mereu in The Moscow Times, but Russians will show up on March 2 to cast their votes anyway. They have to. Thanks to President Vladimir Putin, regional governors are now appointed rather than elected, and they know they need Medvedev’s support to keep their jobs. “What’s the best way to show the next president that you love him?” says one election official. “In this election, the answer is to guarantee him a good turnout.” So the governors are reportedly ordering residents of their provinces to cast ballots for Medvedev, Putin’s handpicked successor. Doctors, professors, and businessmen, all of whom depend on regional governments for their livelihoods, say they have “been ordered to vote and increase turnout.” Factory owners have been told to organize polling stations on their premises and to check employees’ ballots. Universities have been told to make sure their students vote. All this collusion and vote rigging can’t be blamed directly on Putin or the Medvedev campaign. Rather, regional officials are so eager to curry favor with Medvedev, they’re rigging the election for him. “The Kremlin didn’t need to lift a finger this time.” 

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