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World Russians to vote: some want change, but Putin still a cert to win

18:56  12 march  2018
18:56  12 march  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Putin tells U.S. to send evidence of vote meddling

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Putin on alleged US election interference: I don't care

  Putin on alleged US election interference: I don't care Russian President Vladimir Putin says he doesn't care about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.In an interview with American broadcaster NBC News that aired Saturday, Putin also suggested that some of the 13 Russian nationals indicted by the United States may not be ethnically Russian.

Putin, 65, is expected to win a fourth term in office with 69 percent of the vote, according to the latest survey by a state-run pollster.

Reuters correspondents and photographers who traveled around the country talking to voters ahead of the March 18 election found nothing to contradict expectation of an emphatic Putin victory.

(For a Russian election photo essay by Reuters click on http://reut.rs/2p4eHp4)

In Crimea, participating in a Russian presidential election for the first time since the territory was annexed from Ukraine in 2014, engineer Andrei Lukinykh said Putin was the only candidate who could provide stability in tough times.

"As the saying goes, you don't change your horses mid-stream. Unlike the others, my candidate can provide the stability that's needed," Lukinykh said.

Putin's Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower

  Putin's Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower Vladimir Putin and his Russia look more invincible than at any other time in his 18 years in power. Since he last faced election in 2012, Russians have invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, blanket-bombed Syria, been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and claimed to have a scary new nuclear arsenal.

For Muscovite student Yulia Dyuzheva, economic progress during Putin's 17 years in office won him her vote.

"As a representative of the younger generation, I can say that for us, young Russians, all the doors are open. Everyone is able to grab the opportunities presented and make the most of themselves, in whatever town or region," Dyuzheva said.

But others believe Russia is ready for a change.

Accountant Natalia Dementieva, also from Moscow, said she was casting a vote for TV personality Ksenia Sobchak - one of seven other candidates - because she supported more freedoms.

"[Sobchak] speaks the truth, openly. She doesn't lie. She raises issues which are taboo under our government."

"The next generation to rule this country were born between 1982 and 1987. There's a lot of them and they don't remember what it was like in the Soviet Union. So they're less afraid."

Sobchak is expected to garner 2 percent of the vote, according to a March 9 poll by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Centre.

Putin again denies meddling in US election

  Putin again denies meddling in US election Russian President Vladimir Putin once again dismissed allegations that his country interfered in the U.S. presidential election, and in a new interview also questioned the citizenship of 13 people indicted by a special counsel investigating efforts to sway the electorate. "Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked," Putin said during Saturday's two-part interview with NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly.

That's less than the 3 percent who plan to stay at home, some of whom may be heeding opposition leader Alexei Navalny's call to boycott the vote after he was barred from being on the ballot.

From the Communist Party, wealthy farm boss Pavel Grudinin, 57, is set for a stronger showing, at 7 percent.

For Alexei Gruk, a mechanic from St Petersburg, voting for the Communist Party sends the signal that things need to change at home, but he wants Russia's foreign policy to stay the same.

"To hell with the sanctions," Gruk said. "So what if they don't bring foreign stuff here anymore? As if that means we have to give in. I don't care."

Nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a veteran lawmaker, is expected to garner 5 percent of votes, according to latest polls, while liberal economist Grigory Yavlinsky should receive 1 percent.

(Editing by Richard Balmforth)

John McCain blasts Trump for congratulating Putin on winning 'sham election' .
John McCain criticized President Donald Trump for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection. "An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections," the GOP senator said.Russia held presidential elections over the weekend, but there have been reports of ballot-stuffing.Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday criticized US President Donald Trump for congratulating Vladimir Putin on being reelected as president of Russia.

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