Supporters listen as Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin speaks during a rally after Putin claimed victory in the presidential election at the Manezhnya Square March, 4, 2012 in Moscow, Russia. Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images
Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential election Sunday with 63 percent of the vote, inciting large demonstrations in Moscow and elsewhere. Twenty thousand protestors gathered in Moscow’s Pushkin Square the day after the election to protest the contested election results.
Hundreds of police in full riot gear dispersed the protestors, arresting dozens – along with opposition leaders. Russia’s opposition movement, called a “middle-class revolution” by some experts, says that the election was rampant with massive fraud.
International election monitors say that Putin’s challengers did not receive balanced media coverage and sometimes faced harassment. Putin will now face a heated and challenging political climate in the aftermath of former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev’s many reforms. Russian and American author and journalist, Masha Gessen has had a front row seat in the Russian’s latest election, and her new book, “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin,” discusses the enigmatic figure in detail.” Gessen calls the climate in Russia a “mass movement” with the potential to “change the course of Russian history.”
Can Vladimir Putin maintain control of Russian in a post-Arab Spring world of grass roots revolutions? Will the protests continue… and how will Putin consolidate power?
Masha Gessen, author, “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin”
Matthew Rojansky, deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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