Russia’s next president (part I)….

Coffee cups with images of Russian presidential candidates. photo credit: Reuters via VOA website

It can’t be helped – with only a few days left to go before Russia’s presidential elections, things are bound to get a little political here.

So, who do you think Russia’s going to elect to be their next president this Sunday?

There’s not much buzz in the newsroom at the moment – everyone’s exhausted from weeks of pre-election feature work and campaigning coverage (how much more Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov can Russian television audiences take??…not to mention Putin and his groupies!)

There’s been a lot of talk about the protests lately with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in the last few months, demanding an end to Putin’s reign. I think one of our cameramen from southern Russia summed it up well, though – “Don’t they know that most people in Russia want Putin to be president?”

He might be right, actually! Recent state and independent polls have predicted that Putin will take the election with as much as 66 percent of the vote.

This is not that surprising to me, actually. If I was Russian, I really don’t know who I’d vote for.

Who is voting for Putin and why are they doing it? Taking from work interviews all over Russia this is what people seem to be saying:

  • Russia doesn’t want another revolution. Putin = stability
  • “We see Putin on TV. Everyone says to vote for him.” (This is true! Most of the media is controlled by the state, if you live deep in rural Russia with no internet connection, who else would you vote for?)
  • “Who else would we vote for?” The opposition in Russia is sometimes seen to be just as slimy as current Russian leaders. Most of the opposition candidates have been around in Russian politics for as long as Putin has, and they all seem pretty weak compared to Putin. Also, at least one liberal candidate has been barred from the running for alleged registration fraud.
  • “If new people come they’ll start stealing again.” I’ve heard this answer before. Russia has been through a lot the past few decades. People think that current leaders have already gotten rich, stealing state money, and that they’re sick of stealing. They’re afraid that if new people come to power they’ll steal even more. 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not attempting to pull for United Russia or Putin, but I think it’s totally interesting to see why people are making the choices they’re making.

On the other hand, no one saw the recent post-Parliament election protests coming on the scale that we’ve been seeing. Things are changing fast in Russia, so who knows what could be next.

I’m not posting this to get political, to bash anyone or anything like that, I am genuinely interested in what Russia is thinking, and why they’re making their decisions. What do you think? Do you have an opinion? Do you care? Why are people making the choices they’re making?? Who would you vote for?

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2 Responses to Russia’s next president (part I)….

  1. Anastasia says:

    I think people don’t really have a choice – elections in Russia are like a reality TV show, some stuff is unscripted, but everybody already knows how it’s going to end.

  2. Anastasia, I think a lot of people would agree with you! I even heard one girl say today that she was considering voting for Putin in part because she just knows he’ll be the next president…

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