Putin’s Election Dilemma
Rahvusvahelised uudised 13 Jan 2012  EWR
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Vladimir Kara Murza - pics/2012/01/34730_001.jpg
Vladimir Kara Murza
12 January 2012

Just weeks ago, Russia’s March 2012 presidential election seemed a foregone conclusion, with Vladimir Putin’s “victory”—by whatever means—virtually guaranteed. So much so that most opposition leaders, with the exception of liberal economist Grigory Yavlinsky, decided to skip the contest altogether, mindful of the experience of 2008, when pro-democracy candidates Vladimir Bukovsky and Mikhail Kasyanov were denied access to the ballot. The 2012 field (again, with the exception of Yavlinsky) narrowed to a handful of Putin’s handpicked “shadow boxers”: Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky, former Upper House Speaker Sergei Mironov, and ostensibly “center-right” billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Another contender, Kremlin-appointed Irkutsk Governor Dmitri Mezentsev—Putin’s old colleague from St. Petersburg—was chosen as a purely “technical” candidate, for the unlikely event that all the others stood down, thus annulling the election....

Article: http://www.worldaffairsjournal...
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