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Russia 2018: Kremlin Countdown


A tip sheet on Russia's March 18 presidential election delivering RFE/RL and Current Time TV news, videos, and analysis along with links to what our Russia team is watching. Compiled by RFE/RL correspondents and editors.

We are no longer contributing content to this page. For the latest news and analysis on Russian events, see our continuing coverage on our Russia page or RFE/RL's homepage.

The Briefing over at Power Vertical today features Brian Whitmore and Steve Gutterman talking about The Day After.

Pussy Riot Issues 'Elections' Clip

Let me get this straight; it's a six-year presidential term, right? :-)

And there's this nugget about the clip via The Guardian.

The video for Elections features paintings by Navalny’s brother Oleg, currently serving a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence after being convicted of stealing money from two Russian companies – a ruling described by the European Court of Human Rights as “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable”. Pussy Riot described him as a political prisoner.

Shpilkin's Statistics Said To Hint At Massive Fraud

You might recall physicist and data analyst Sergei Shpilkin, "Churov's saw," and his suggestions in the past that systematic Russian election fraud was traceable via statistics. (If you don't, you should read this or watch this.)

Well, he's apparently got fresh indications of massive falsification in connection with the March 18 election.

'Chief' Not 'President'

The editor in chief of state-funded network RT, Margarita Simonyan, asserted that Western policies and attitudes prompted Russians to unite around Putin and made him stronger than ever. She seemed to suggest he could remain in power indefinitely.

Railing against the West and praising Putin in a tirade on Twitter, Simonyan said that "as soon as you declared him the enemy, you united us" around Putin.

"Before, he was just our president and he could have been replaced. But now he is our chief," she wrote, using a label -- vozhd -- that is often associated with Stalin. "And we will not let [you] replace him."

FLASH: A day after election, Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will not engage in an arms race and will seek constructive ties with other countries, but will defend its interests. (via TASS, Interfax, Reuters, AP)

Power Vertical's Brian Whitmore on "the only thing that appeared spontaneous on an utterly predictable day," an argument between Putin critic Aleksei Navalny, who was barred from the election, and Ksenia Sobchak, a losing candidate and daughter of a Putin mentor.

The Daily Vertical: Russia's Real Debate
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OSCE Mission Says Russian Presidential Election Lacked 'Genuine Competition'


The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says Russia’s presidential election lacked “genuine competition” with voters having no real choice in the vote.

"Restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression...have limited the space for political engagement and resulted in a lack of genuine competition," Michael Georg Link, Special Coordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission in Russia for the vote told reporters at a news conference on March 19.

With 99.8 percent of the ballots counted, incumbent President Vladimir Putin had 76.7 percent of the vote, according to the Central Election Commission.

Link said the OSCE mission felt the election was orderly and run “efficiently” by the Commission.

As media in Russia's big cities trained their lenses on voters and ballot boxes, photographer Dmitry Markov took a stroll through the sunshine in the small town of Pskov in the country's west to see what else was going on.

Current Time TV offers a look at the Russian election in two maps, comparing turnout and Putin/Medvedev support over past elections.

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