Global Politics

Russia's predictable presidential race

Russia's last independent radio station is one of the few outlets where you'll find any real debate about Russia's presidential election. The campaigning has been dull. That's mostly because the outcome is not in doubt, Medvedev is set to win in a landslide. The message couldn't be clearer; Medvedev is the chosen one, Putin's anointed leader. One of Medvedev's opponents has even been praising Medvedev. This political analyst at the Carnegie Center in Moscow describes this election as one big game where the outcome is already decided. In Russia, politics are tightly controlled. A former prime minister tried to stand in the race but then was barred from running after being accused of forging some of the signatures needed to run for president. In any rate, his popularity barely registers in polls. In this TV debate, the frontrunners decided not to take part, Medvedev said he's too busy doing his job. He doesn't need to campaign though, these days Russians are seeing more of Medvedev than Putin. Regular Russians speak approvingly of Medvedev and Putin. The reality is that Russians would probably vote for whoever Putin told them to, but Putin's not leaving anything to chance.