FATHER PUTIN RETURNS- Don't Cry for Me Roosiya
Well, there was never much doubt that Putin would handily win, no matter how intoxicated Western media was by the large protests against the Little Big Man. His official win - 64% is 14% above GOLOS's (election monitor) number of 50%, dead-even, with plenty of evidence of carousel voting (buses of repeat voters). Since this was the same showing as United Russia in the last election, it probably is more accurate. There was no chance there wouldn't be cheating- in Putin's Russia that is built into the system- everything is gamed for someone's advantage. His crying at his victory appearance was ascribed to "the wind", but more likely a rare moment of emotion from the cool KGB potentate- I don't cry when I get something in them.
No, the question is if the liberalizing trend in response to the opposition challenge will continue; or the iron fist will come down. With this resounding mandate, Vlad could feel justified (as Yeltsin did after crushing the '93 Revolt) to crack down on malcontents, but the feeling is something has deeply changed in Russia- it is a new country where the populace is actually demanding something from the Gov. And getting results- incredibly Medvedev ordered a review of Khordokovsky's conviction's legality- something that must have had VVP's consent- and a taste of a Moscow Spring.