March 01, 2004

Rolling into Spring

As we were getting this issue of Russian Life ready to go to press, in February, it was still winter. Yet the days were already getting longer and there was promise in the air of spring and renewal.

By the time you receive this issue, in March, Russian citizens will be about to renew the mandate of President Vladimir Putin for another four years. At least that is what the polls tell us to expect: 79% of those who plan to vote on Sunday, March 14, say they will cast their votes in favor of the president (see page 64).

In February the election promised a complete lack of flavor and intrigue. No televised debates between Candidate Number One and his “opponents” have yet been scheduled, and they should not be expected. Why should Putin waste his time sparring with the bizarre candidates propped up to oppose him? Like, for instance, the ex-pugilist Oleg Malyshkin. The Liberal Democrats’ Clown in Chief, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, chose not to run for president this time around, sending Malyshkin, his dim but faithful ex-bodyguard, into the ring to take the beating instead. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov is also opting out of the race, with communist Nikolai Kharitonov carrying the banner of Lenin’s heirs (polling a whopping 2-3% support at press time).

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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