Voting has begun voting for choosing its next President. President Puting in a television address to the nation has urged the populace to ensure their presence and contribution to the Russian progress by casting their vote. He also stated that failure to vote will just mean that the most significant decision of the land will be taken without their opinion being taken into consideration. Russian elections are facing a potent concern about the voter turnout. Although President Putin is all set for the big win it is important for the world and Russia to know how many voters actually turn out and vote for him.
Putin has been the face of Russia for nearly 2 decades either as Prime Minister or the President and is looking forward to the next term with confidence. He is although facing seven other candidates which include Pavel Grudinin, Ksenia Sobchak, Vladimir Zhirinovsky among others. Alexei Navalny has been forbidden from running due to a conviction in a fraud case. He was the most famous figure in opposition.
Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) the State polling firm has stated a forecast of nearly 80 percent turnout in current elections which is the highest figure if attained in the developed world. The last Russian nationwide elections in 2016 the Duma had however seen the lowest voter turnout of 47.88 percent, the lowest seen since the Soviet Union was dismantled. Furthermore, the regional elections which happened in September last year the voter turnout was a dismal figure of just 28 percent in Moscow. Experts have suggested that owing to the trends, lower voter turnout is expected and it could be figured around 52 percent. Although low turnout is not a reflection of Putin’s popularity as the findings of VCIOM had suggested he had approval ratings of 69 percent which are almost 10 times more than his nearest rival. In fact, the latter gap may not persuade voters.
The low turnout can be a worrisome trend for Russian democracy as there is no obvious face who can succeed Putin who has centralised power around his persona. The government has however shown proactiveness and has been promoting election by hiring consultants including approaching voters door-to-door to remind them about the importance of their vote. The State television networks have also helped fostered patriotic spirits in public to urge them to vote and make a contribution.