Entretanto, na Rússia: as lágrimas de Putin na vitória

Vladimir Putin, ladeado por Dmitry Medvedev, chora no discurso de proclamação de vitória. foto de Mikhail Voskresensky /Reuters

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Vladimir Putin: 'We have won. Glory to Russia'

Vladimir Putin has claimed a resounding victory in Russia's presidential election, provoking a furious response from opposition activists who alleged that the vote was marred by widespread fraud.
At a rally in front of the Kremlin an emotional Putin, with tears running down his face and flanked by the outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, said: "I promised you we would win. We have won. Glory to Russia."
Putin congratulated his supporters for preventing unidentified outside forces from determining the country's fate, angrily reiterating his charge that the unprecedented protests against his rule that have rocked the country since a contested parliamentary vote in December have been curated by the west.
"We showed that no one can direct us in anything!" Putin said. "We were able to save ourselves from political provocations, which have one goal: to destroy Russian sovereignty and usurp power."
The central election commission gave Putin 63% with 22% of votes counted. The state-run VTsIOM polling agency said its exit polls predicted that Putin would take 58.3% of the vote.
But as with the December vote, independent election monitors and opposition activists presented evidence of widespread falsifications, including ballot stuffing and "carousel voting" – packing vans with voters and bussing them to several polling sites to cast numerous votes.
The Kremlin set up webcams in polling sites to combat fraud. One camera caught a man stuffing voting papers into a ballot box in Dagestan.
Putin's supporters rejected claims of voting irregularities. "This is the cleanest election in Russia's entire history," said his campaign chief, Stanislav Govorukhin. "The violations our rivals and the opponents of our president will now speak of are laughable."
Some in Moscow said their support for Putin was a vote for stability. "I voted for Putin because there are no other candidates," said Elena, a 50-year-old teacher voting at a school in western Moscow.
Many opposition activists had hoped to force Putin into a second round and questioned his landslide victory. "Putin has named himself the emperor of Russia for the next 12 years," said the protest leader Alexey Navalny. "We announced earlier that we will not recognise these elections. The powers here are illegitimate – this is their only way to remain in power."
Thousands were due to take to the streets on Monday to express their discontent with the result. "Can [Putin] hold on to power for the full six years? I think not," Navalny said. "My supporters and I will use various peaceful means to ensure that this person, who has no legitimate right to hold this post, will not hold it for six years."
Putin, who has already served as president from 1999 to 2008, will return to the presidency following an inauguration in early May. Constitutional changes instituted by Medvedev extended the presidential term from four to six years.
Beyond the election day reports of fraud, Putin's critics said the vote was illegitimate before it began. They accused him of unfairly using administrative resources, including state-run television, to advance his candidacy and to refuse to register candidates such as the liberal Yabloko leader, Grigory Yavlinsky.
Putin's official opponents lagged far behind. The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, came in second with early results showing he took 17.37% of the vote. The billionaire latecomer Mikhail Prokhorov took nearly 8%, while the far-right nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky took nearly 7.5%. Sergei Mironov, who abstained from throwing his support behind Putin, unlike in previous elections, came in last with 3.67%.
Several regions reported huge support for Putin. More than 76% of voters in the far-eastern region of Chukotka, formerly governed by Chelsea FC's owner, Roman Abramovich, voted for Putin, the election commission said. The troubled Caucasus region, in accordance with what has already become tradition, also presented near unanimous support for Putin.
In Moscow, the Kremlin was on high alert as thousands of police and interior ministry troops deployed in the centre.
Tens of thousands of members of the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi were bussed in from around the country to attend a victory rally. Despite the Kremlin's insistence that the vote was not decided in advance, a stage was constructed as early as Sunday morning in anticipation of the victory rally.
The protest movement against Putin has found its greatest strength in Moscow, launched after a 4 December parliamentary vote marred by widespread evidence of fraud. Some 370,000 Russians signed up to act as independent election monitors after the vote, an unprecedented show of civic activism born of the growing protest movement against Putin's rule.
Putin voted alongside his rarely seen wife, Lyudmila Putina, at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Fifteen minutes after he left the polling site, three women tore off their shirts and began shouting "Putin is a thief". They were dragged away by police and one activist was later sentenced to 10 days in jail.

publicado no The Guardian 

# Dossier: Russian Presidential Election 2012 | Live Blog: Acompanhar Ao Minuto

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Cleaning Up in Moscow: A dispatch from Vladimir Putin's election day

If you want to talk about trigger moments, you could do worse than the night of December 4. As the polls closed in Russia's parliamentary elections that Sunday, the Kremlin's polling firm FOM posted an exit poll on its website that gave United Russia, the ruling party created to support Vladimir Putin, 27.5 percent. It seemed a reasonable result: Moscow is a rich, highly educated city where United Russia, despite being backed by the full resources of the state, is virulently unpopular. By Monday morning, the exit poll had disappeared off the FOM website, replaced with an official result that bore no resemblance to the election day surveys: 46.6 percent. Moscow exploded in a rage that evening and many thousands of people came out to protest, something unheard of in the city for the dozen years of Putin's rule.
A line had clearly been crossed. After this, tens of thousands of Muscovites -- Muscovites who had up until then been indifferent to politics -- started coming out into the streets in the largest political protests Russia had seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their demands -- new parliamentary elections -- were impossible, but the one thing you heard over and over at those first protests was a sense of offense: we are not idiots. "Politicians everywhere lie," one young man in a beautiful shearling coat told me at the December 10 protest on Bolotnaya Square. "But in other countries, they do it with more finesse. It's not as crass as here."
Exactly three months and three mass opposition protests later, that lesson seems to have been utterly lost on the Kremlin -- or, worse, rudely ignored. Going into the March 4 presidential election set to restore Putin to the office he temporarily swapped out of four years ago, the going theory among the Moscow political chattering classes was that Moscow itself would have a relatively clean election, that the Kremlin would decide not to pour fuel on the fire by avoiding really flagrant election fraud of the sort we saw in December -- the ballot stuffing, the so-called carousels of voters herded on buses to vote again and again and again. After all, 82,000 of the 370,000 new election monitors who volunteered to make sure these elections were more honest than the last were in Moscow.
And yet, all day Sunday, Moscow was flooded with news of violations in the city. In part, they were the result of more eyes. In many cases, the violations were so blatant that no pair of eyes could miss them. Instead of limiting themselves to the quiet tricks they've used before -- stuffing ballot boxes before the voting begins, pressuring people at work to vote for Putin, fudging the numbers on the election protocols after the election monitors have gone home -- whoever was in charge of the operation almost seemed to have made a conscious decision to go flagrant. Fleets of buses -- workhorses of the carousels -- clogged Moscow's center. Activists from the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi were bused in, their cities of origin plastered on the windshields, to vote. (The busing got so bad that, at mid-day, the head of the Moscow Election Committee had to issue a clarification: they were just giving people rides to the polling stations, he said.)
Elena Panfilova, the director of the Russian branch of Transparency International, reported a large mass of voters with absentee certificates -- which allow you to vote outside your precinct -- from faraway Tambov showing up at her precinct in suburban Moscow, where she worked as an observer. These absentee certificates were this election's great innovation, giving the Kremlin armies of voters freed from their place of residence, and therefore making it impossible to make sure they only vote once. It seemed to be a massive plan: the Central Election Commission ran out of the certificates well before the elections started. There were 2.6 million of them.
"Everyone expected a cleaner election in Moscow," says Alexey Navalny, who made his name as an anti-corruption fighter and is the opposition's most natural, if reluctant, leader. We sat in the information center organized by his latest civil society project, RosVybory, one of the many new election monitoring initiatives that sprouted up in this winter's unrest. "But these were naïve expectations, because this would have led to a second round."

publicado na Foreign Policy

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