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Andrew Wilson for New Eastern Europe: Putin has stumbled over the finish line

March 4, 2012 - Example Author - New Eastern Europe newsletter

Now online – Interview with Andrew Wilson, Senior Fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

NEW EASTERN EUROPE: As expected, Vladimir Putin has now declared a first round victory (based on exit polling) in the Russian presidential election.  What is your immediate reaction?

ANDREW WILSON: There really weren’t any question marks left. No one really expected Putin to go to the second round. In order for that to happen Zyuganov would have had to have done really well, or Prokhorov a much better showing –but no one really expected either scenario to happen. Putin’s claimed win, based on the exit polls, is kind of in the middle of expectations. Anything over 70 per cent would have been blamed on egregious, insultingly large election fraud and might have given an extra dynamic to protests.

On the other hand if Putin just scraped through with just 51 or 52 per cent he might have looked weak (the win will not make him stronger – but dangerously weak). We can be fairly certain that this margin of victory has been carefully state-managed – so that Putin’s victory is safe but not dangerously overemphatic…

To read the full interview: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/229

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