Vladimir Putin Wins Reelection
And the rag tag of opposition parties are already railing, claiming vote fraud and getting lots of attention in the West. Frankly it's all a bunch of horseshit. None of them had any chance against Putin; the communists are stuck to a few rural areas, and the rest are just billionaire vanity campaigns. Putin's margin of victory is far too wide to leave any doubt. It's just newspapers, especially newspapers in Britain and America, continually hype up dissension against Putin and hype up negative stories. My Russian studies professor noted, that when you get to Russia, you find a bunch of people in the academia and a bunch of wealthy people who don't like Putin, but that by large, almost all the people you come across on the streets love him. Unfortunately, those who don't study the area and it's politics academically, get a very one sided view, one that usually reviles Putin without looking at his many accomplishments, one usually spread by paranoid ex-patriot billionaires who made their fortunes in the most shady and illegitimate manners imaginable.
I'm not saying I agree with Putin's policies, or his style, but I think he is a pragmatic man and serves a very important function by monopolizing the rightist and authoritarian vote in Russia and keeping it both under control and keep it from getting too radical, in a country where the neo-nazi movement is already very strong. In general, you can look at lot of his policies, like removing the power to appoint governors from local legislators and placing it solely in the hands of the President, and say, "Oh look at that blatant, corrupt power grab." But if you view in the context of the late 90s, when several governors were so autonomous and uncooperative that they practically ran separate countries, you begin to understand that this move effectively broke up even more corrupt, power grabbing local regimes and allowed Russia to establish a marginally effective national government; something that did not exist in the 1990s.
What Putin offers is a stable and pragmatic, if authoritarian, constitutionalist government. He's the one with the experienced party, the talented officials, and the only candidate with only real change of asserting enough power to govern a stubborn political entity like Russia. The other parties, especially the Communists, suffer from too much idealism and lack any potential to assert authority if they somehow, through some miracle, won power. So, essentially, Putin is Russia's best and safest bet right now, and really, the candidate that the West should want in power because he will keep the radicals in check and he will keep the country stable, and be able to convert it's oil industry into a more diverse economy.
"I am not young enough to know everything" -Oscar Wilde
"The best way to protect your place in this world is to do nothing at all." -From Ikiru