Less than a month before Russia’s presidential election Vladimir Putin canceled several trips and unexpectedly disappeared from public view for nearly two weeks. When asked why, his spokesman blamed a common cold.
Mr Putin’s absence mirrored the lack of excitement in the moribund race, in which the popular president is virtually guaranteed to win his fourth six-year term.
Although he has reappeared since his illness, interest in the election has not, and polls have suggested record low participation in the March 18 vote.
With opposition leader Alexei Navalny calling for an election boycott, the Kremlin has been mainly concerned with avoiding an embarrassingly low turnout.
The real question is…
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