Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor as Russian president won a landslide victory.
As expected, Dmitry Medvedev took more than two-thirds of Sunday’s vote, with Communist Party leader Gennadiy Zhuganov next at less than 20 percent. Putin has said he’ll stay on as prime minister.
Among Russian Jews, the mood ranged from overwhelming support for the Medvedev-Putin team to frustration and even anger at the lack of substantive choices. Kremlin critics and international observers have lambasted the election as critically flawed.
“I wouldn’t call it an election. It’s really important not to use that word,” said Sarah Mendelson, a Russian-area expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “An election implies a competitive process that is transparent to the voter. That’s not what this is.”
Muscovites voted amid a massive police presence – more than 23,000 police, soldiers and special forces were on duty Sunday in the capital.
The government, in an effort to combat low turnout, launched a series of programs designed to get voters to the polls.