New Eastern Europe will be providing commentary, analysis and updates regarding the March 4th 2012 Presidential Election.
All live updates will be posted here and a dedicated page for the Elections has been set up here:
4 March 2012
Putin addresses supporters
Assumed President-elect Vladimir Putin addresses a large crowd of his supporters in Moscow claiming that “We have won in an open and fair struggle”. With tears visible, Putin continued, “We won! We defeated those who want Russia destroyed”.
4 March 2012 18:15 CET
And the winner is …
Based on exit polling data, Vladimir Putin has wonthe Russian presidential election with 61.8% of the vote.
Results can be found here: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/227
4 March 2012 17:25 CET
Presidential Elections in Photos
New Eastern Europe Contributor and Polish Journalist Tomasz Kułakowski is on the scene in Moscow reporting on the elections. He has shared some of his photos with us.
You can see the photos here (regularly updated): https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/228
4 March 2012 17:00 CET
Polls closed in Moscow
Polls are now closed in Moscow. The final voting is taking place in the Russian region of Kaliningrad. Polls there close 18:00 CET.
4 March 2012 15:45 CET
Navalny calls for protest march
Alexei Navalny has called for a massive protest rally to take place tomorrow, March 5th in response to allegations that the election currently taking place in Russia is fraudulent. During a press conference Navalny was quoted saying: “Tomorrow everyone should go out on the streets.”
4 March 2012 15:15 CET
Turnout nears 50% by 15.00 Moscow time
Official reports are showing nearly 50% turnout by 15.00 Moscow time.
4 March 2012 13:45 CET
The English web site of Moscow Times reported on their live blog that nearly 100 buses of young ‘voters’ from outside Moscow were bussed in to vote:
“Young Voters Bused Into Moscow From Regions to Vote: Around 100 buses with license plates from surrounding regions have arrived at Bolotnaya Ploshchad in central Moscow carrying voters to polling stations in the capital, Gazeta.ru reported. An estimated 5,000 predominantly young people were brought in on the buses. The square is being guarded by police, and the buses were accompanied by traffic police cars. The buses came from Voronezh, Ivanovo, Vladimir and other regions, the report said. One student from the city of Petrozavodsk told Gazeta.ru he did not vote in his home city because ‘here is better.’ “
The Guardian’s Miriam Elder tweeted a photo of the buses here with the youth unloading.
4 March 13:15 CET
Voter turnout update
By 14.00 (11.00 CET) Moscow time nearly 30% of voters had turned out to vote in Russia’s Sunday Presidential elections. In regions of the east, where polls will be closing soon, turnout has reached in the upper 60-70%.
4 March 10:40 CET
Putin casts his ballot
Russian prime minister, and presidential election front-runner, Vladimir Putin, has cast his ballot in Sunday’s Presidential election at a Moscow polling station.
Updated 4 March 8:50 CET
Tony Halpin of The Times tweeted an unusual exit poll result from Russia’s far east:
@Tonyhalpin: Surprising exit poll from Russia's Far East #russianelection – Putin 42%, Prokhorov 33%. Rogue poll or shock forecast?
There were no specifics as to exactly where this exit poll was taken and the results remain unconfirmed at the time of the tweet.
Updated 4 March 7:30 CET
Russians take to the polls
Russians have begun voting in the Presidential election in which most have predicted a first round Vladimir Putin victory. Results from the far east of Russia are showing an average 50% turnout by midday in the elections. Presidential Candidate Mikhail Prokhorov cast his ballot in Siberia's Krasnoyarsky Krai where is he is registered to vote.
Follow New Eastern Europe for live election updates throughout the day.
Updated 3 March 21:00 CET
Have Russians gone to bed already knowing who will win tomorrow?
The evening before the Presidential elections, most Russians went to bed knowing already who will win tomorrow’s election, and believing that Vladimir Putin will do so in the first round. Most believe he will win by a mix of vote rigging and actual support.
But what if Vladimir Putin doesn’t win in the first round? This scenario, albeit most unlikely, could lead to chaos in Russia. If there is a second round in the elections Putin would most likely face Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist Party candidate who was polling around 15 per cent of the vote in the last polls. The majority of Zyuganov’s support comes from older people, with some nostalgia for the Soviet times. Clearly not running on a modernist agenda, he polls very low with younger and entrepreneurial Russians – the same ones marching out on the street.
If there would be a second round in the elections – would the opposition mobilise enough to support Zyuganov as the ‘’anybody-but-Putin” candidate, even if they would not be thrilled with Zyuganov in the Kremlin? Would they get behind this non-Putin candidate and make sure that he would win by marching on the street, demanding a fair election? And what of the elite and the oligarchs behind Putin – how would they react to a drawn out election?
This is why Putin must win in the first round tomorrow. He can not afford the risk of dragging this election beyond March 4th.
Of course all will be revealed in tomorrow’s big event. Stay tuned to New Eastern Europe for regular updates throughout the day.
Update 3 March 10:30 CET
Whitmore: How to rig an election
Brian Whitmore of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty posted on his blog evidence and stories from Russian election officials on how local officials are coerced to alter results of an election. Whitmore presents a few recent reports, including from the Kommersant that reported “election workers are not only being pressured, but also being offered incentives, to secure a decisive first-round victory for Putin”.
While at the same time over 300 thousand observers from Russia and 600 international observers are expected to watch over the election process in Russia on March 4th.
Whether or not the observers will have ‘influence’ on the election rigging this time around and if any of it really matters will be clarified tomorrow.
Updated 2 March 10:00 CET
The End of the Putin Consensus
A new ECFR policy brief by New Eastern Europe contributors Andrew Wilson and Ben Judah provide recommendations for EU foreign policy toward Russia. Highlights of the report can be found on the NEE website here: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/223
The full brief can be downloaded here: http://ecfr.eu/page/-/Putin_final.pdf
Update 1 March 13:30 CET
Preobrazhensky – The Opposition is not Idle
Russian political analyst and Rosbalt columnist Ivan Preobrazhensky writes for New Eastern Europe that last Sunday's "human chain" protest in Moscow is a sign that the opposition movement is not weakening, even if Putin's presidential victory is a foregone conclusion.
Updated 1 March 2012 08:00 CET
Putin Again – A new Report by Chatham House
The British Think Tank Chatham House released a new report on the return of Putin to the Russian Presidency. The Report was written by Fellows Philip Hanson, Andrew Wood, James Nixey and with contribution from Lilia Shevtsova from the Carnegie Moscow Centre.
The 40 page report goes in-depth with discussions on Putin, Russia new Geopolitical strategy, economics and discusses strategies for the West to engage Russia. The report concludes by stating:
“A re-elected Putin and his associates may be tempted to seek to renew their grip on power through repressive measures. But that strategy is unlikely to succeed for long, even if it is buttressed by appeals to nationalist or ethnic prejudices, and supported for a time by budgetary bribes.
The Russian people are growing away from the narrowly based regime that has determined their lives in recent years. What they and the outside world face is an increasing challenge to a regime apparently incapable of delivering the radical change required to cope with the pressures that
threaten its structures. It will matter greatly to the West, and particularly to Russia’s fellow Europeans, that the further erosion and eventual replacement of Russia’s existing regime should be
peaceful, not violent. There are those within Russian society, and some within the broader governing structures, who may eventually come to wish for a peaceful transformation in their own interests, and to find a way to work for it.”
You can access the entire report here: http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Russia%20and%20Eurasia/r0212_putin.pdf
Updated 28 Febraury 2012 10:30 CET
Ross Wilson: Living with Putin Redux
In an exclusive commentary for New Eastern Europe, Ross Wilson, Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and former United States ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan, discusses Putin’s return and how the West, especially the US, should engage Putin after the elections.
Updated 28 Febraury 2012 9:30 CET
Edward Lucas: Putin’s days are numbered
Edward Lucas, international editor of the Economist and author of the upcoming book Deception an expose of East-West espionage, wrote in a commentary for the Daily Mail that the biggest threat to Vladimir Putin is not the West, which is increasingly inward looking as it wrestles with its own economic woes. No, the real threat comes at home. The man who was once not just all-powerful but stunningly popular now looks weak. Of course, he will still win Sunday’s election. Ill-educated, provincial Russians who believe official propaganda and the millions on the bloated state payroll will see to that. But in the longer term, Putin has lost.
Updated: 27 February 2012 10:00 CET
Putin Assassination Averted
Russian State TV has reported that a plot to kill Prime Minister (and presidential candidate) Vladimir Putin has been uncovered in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Ukrainian and Russian security services indicated that arrests were made earlier in February, but there was some confusion on the exact date of the arrests. Reports indicate that Chechen militants were behind the plot.
Updated: 27 February 2012 08:00 CET
Brzeziecki on Putin’s Media Attacks
In a commentary for New Eastern Europe and Nowa Europa Wschodnia, Editor-in-Chief, Andrzej Brzeziecki argues that the most recent attacks on the semi-independent media in Russia is a sad sign but will not be effective. Brzeziecki writes, “The scores of ‘live journals’, blogs, internet parodies and social networks are uniting citizens in their protests against the abuses of power. And this is something that Putin and his people will be unable to stamp out.”
To read the commentary see: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/211
Updated: 26 February 2012 22:00 CET
Dual rallies held in Moscow
In Moscow today, rallies were held in support of Putin as well as the opposition. Both rallies claimed over 10,000 people attending (each rally) and took the form of flash mobs.
Updated: 25 February 2012 18:00 CET
Russian opposition supporters hold rally
A rally held today organized by opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, brought some 3,500 people to protest the upcoming elections in Russia. Navalny, who has made internet fame for his anti-corruption blogging, and his less appealing nationalistic views, was quoted as saying:
"These are not elections, this is an event and we must use it to create some extra stress for the authorities. They could not cope with the stress they had on December 2 (2011), and we see that so far they have offered decorative political reforms, but nevertheless they suggest (changes) which could not be achieved during the previous ten years of the existence of 'systematic' opposition. These are not elections, this is the reappointment of Putin".
Updated: 25 February 2012 09:00 CET
Rogoża: An old Putin for new times
The Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies published a new article by Russian expert Jadwiga Rogoża on Vladimir Putin and his electoral agenda. Rogoża writes: “Since mid-December, Putin has been publishing weekly articles in the Russian press, thus presenting his electoral agenda concerning politics, social affairs, the economy, and security. These texts reveal a vision of the state which is not a liberal one, even on the level of rhetoric.”
Stay tuned to New Eastern Europe for an exclusive interview with Jadwiga Rogoża which will be posted here later this week.
Updated: 24 February 2012 21:45 CET
Rapping candidate goes viral
AP is reporting that Russian presidential candidate and billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov makes internet fame (link with video) by “showing off” his rapping styles on a recent Russian TV program. Whether or not it is enough to put him in serious contention with Vladimir Putin, remains to be seen.
Updated: 24 February 2012 19:30 CET
Film Review of BBC Documentary: Putin, Russia and the West
A new four-part BBC documentary highlights the rise of Vladimir Putin and his. The documentary film, consisting of four hour-long episodes, constructs a unifying narrative about Putin’s actions at home and abroad and was screened on BBC2 in the first weeks of 2012. It was produced by award-winning documentary maker Norma Percy.
Read the Review here: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/205
Updated: 24 February 2012 12:00 CET
Latest poll: Putin to win by nearly two-thirds
Reuters is reporting that Vladimir Putin is set to win the March 4th presidential election with between 63-66 per cent of the vote. The poll was conducted by the Russian Levada Center. The poll represents that last major public opinion poll before the election.
Updated: 24 February 2012 09:00 CET
Moscow hosts mass rally in support of Putin in anticipation of upcoming election
RIA-NOVOSTI Reports that tens of thousands of supporters have packed a Moscow sports stadium in a rally to support Vladimir Putin's presidential bid. Putin addressed the enthusiastic crowd in an attempt to build support ahead of the March 4th poll. The UK's Guardian reports that thousands of workers from the provinces were bussed in or rushed on to trains to attend the event.
New Eastern Europe and Nowa Europa Wschodnia launch election sites
New Eastern Europe and its Polish-sister edition Nowa Europa Wschodnia will be joining forces to provide updates, commentary and analysis on the upcoming March 4 presidential elections in Russia. We will be sharing and translating content from our English, Polish and Russian contributors.
English site: New Eastern Europe
Polish site: Nowa Europa Wschodnia
New Eastern Europe is an English quarterly journal dedicated to Central/Eastern European affaris. Nowa Europa Wscodnia is a bimonthly Polish journal with a similar format. Both journals are published by the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College of Eastern Europe based in Wroclaw.