Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairperson Ella Pamfilova announced early Monday that candidate Vladimir Putin’s victory in Sunday’s presidential election was unprecedented: “This is a huge event for the country – electing Russia’s president,” she said, noting that “according to preliminary results, the winner is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who has garnered an unprecedented number of votes.”
Unprecedented number of votes for post-Communist Russia, that is. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, winning a mere 76.66% of the vote was considered an abysmal failure.
And speaking of the fallen Soviet Union, Pavel Grudinin, the Communist Party of Russia’s candidate, came in second, with 11.80% of the vote, while the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky was third with 5.66%.
Voter turnout for the Russian presidential election reached 67.49% as of 10:45 AM, Monday, Moscow Time, with 73,432,312 people voting.
The results are, in fact, a big improvement over elections in the Soviet Union (1917-1987), which featured only one candidate on the list (guess what party). It was allowed to vote against a candidate, but not for an alternative. There was no penalty for failing to vote, so that if people were angry with the system they could not-vote with their feet. Surprisingly, many Russians participated in the Soviet elections, and turnout in the USSR was often higher than it has been in modern Russia. Of course, it helped that one could buy
What was the reason for such high turnout? Some people claim it was because one could buy remainder food items for lower prices at the voting stations.