It’s business as usual in Russia: Vladimir Putin is set to embark on a fourth term as president and looks likely to be determining the country’s fate for another six years. The 65-year-old Kremlin leader’s victory in the election on March 18 was always considered certain. Scoring more than70 percent, though, is a personal record for the former KGB officer who was first elected as president in 2000. According to sociologist Lev Gudkov, head of the renowned public opinion research institute Levada Center, Putin’s approval ratings are currently at a high point. “The high approval of his policies, not taking into account the (current) patriotic-military wave, is based on the lack of alternatives and crucial illusions,” Gudkov told Deutsche Welle in December. One such illusion, he said, was the belief held by many Russians that Putin will guarantee the existing prosperity. Read more: Vladimir Putin 4.0 — Russia’s wartime president The challengers A total of eight candidates will take part in the Russian presidential election. They include experienced party leaders, such as right-wing populist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky. But there are also some new faces. For example, instead of their elderly leader, Gennady Zyuganov, the Communists have… Read full this story
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