Vladimir Putin secured a third term as President of Russia during last weeks presidential elections. The official count put him at 63.64% (results). This didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
The circumstances of his nomination (he served already two terms), the conduct of his campaign and the voting itself were controversial or even fraudulent. Independent observers have spoken of thousands of incidents in which manipulation took place. We will never know for sure the extent of those incidents and the impact they had on the final figures.
I followed the elections on German television. There was extended coverage on all channels. All commentators focused mainly on those ‘irregularities’. But is this all?
Elections, however tempered with, are great occasions to get behind the obvious. I would have liked to get more information about Russia and her people. How does a normal day of common people look like? What sort of problems do they struggle with? What are their main concerns at present and what are their expectations for the future? That might have helped to explain why many Russians have actually voted for Putin. The precise numbers do not matter that much at this point to make this assessment.
I wish for independent journalism that reports facts and the stories behind them rather than opinions. Objectivity must come first. A well-informed audience will be able to make up it’s own mind.