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Think Tank

Putin Wins, Sheds Tears, and Critics Respond

A tearful Vladimir Putin claimed a "clean" victory in the Russian presidential election. 

Critics, on the other hand, have charged that Putin's win is tainted by reports of widespread abuses, including so-called 'carousel voting' in which Putin supporters appeared en masse at one polling station after another to cast multiple ballots. One of Putin's opponents, the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, said that his observers reported almost 1,000 violations.

And yet, it is difficult to contest an election in which Putin won nearly 60 percent of the votes cast. The result, in fact, was consistent with pre-election opinion polls that forecast that Putin's support was in that ballpark, which meant he would avoid a runoff vote. 

Still, criticisms of this election run deeper than the problems at the polls. Putin's opponents have been subjected to official harassment that has created an environment of fear. None of the candidates who ran against Putin in this election were regarded as serious challengers with much of a chance of winning, making this election, for all intents and purposes, a sham.

So what will it take to effectively challenge Putin's power in Russia? Perhaps change will have to occur first outside of the ballot box. 

For instance, Putin opponents such as Gary KasparovWorld Chess Champion from 1985-2000 and a critic of Putin, says a social revolt is inevitable in Russia. 

Watch the video here, and visit Big Think tomorrow as top experts weigh in on the Russian election. :

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

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