Let the 2018 Russian Presidential Campaign Begin!

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Grigory Yavlinsky (left) at a rally for first-year anniversary of opposition leader Boris Nemstov’s murder (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

If my American audience is tired of the 2016 Presidential Race, why don’t you instead look at foreign elections?

The next presidential election for Russia will occur in March of 2018. Still plenty of time for announcements, fine tuning stances, focusing on current events, and so on.

One candidate, Grigory Yavlinsky of the center-left Russian United Democratic Party “Yabloko” [meaning “Apple” in Russian], has stated that he will beat President Putin in his reelection. Although Putin has not yet declared himself a candidate in the next election, it will be shocking if he doesn’t take the opportunity to exploit his all-time popularity in Russia.

From The Moscow Times:

Grigory Yavlinsky, co-founder of the Yabloko Russian liberal opposition party, said in an interview with the Interfax news agency [earlier in March] that he expects to beat current President Vladimir Putin in the presidential race in 2018.

The fact that Putin’s approval rating currently exceeds 80 percent “plays no role,” Yavlinsky said.

[…]

Yavlinsky also said Russia may face early elections in 2017.

“The economic situation, from my point of view, looks so bad that after a year, early elections may become a reality: Putin will want to hold them ahead of time to take advantage of the current level of support,” Yavlinsky told Interfax.

He rejected the possibility that the situation in Russia may improve by 2018, as Putin is not ready to return the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine and stop Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine.

Yavlinsky did not support Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

The politician believes Moscow must admit that it violated international norms, hold a conference with the participation of Ukraine and the UN on the status of the peninsula and hold another referendum in Crimea, Interfax reported.

Yavlinsky previously ran for President in both the 1996 and 2000 elections, earning 7.4 and 5.9 percent of the popular vote, respectively. That was against Boris Yeltsin’s 54.4 percent victory in 1996 and Putin’s 53.4% victory in 2000.

His opposition to Putin’s  annexation of Crimea, one of the most internationally controversial but defining moments of Putin’s current term, will certainly get Yavlinsky in the headlines. The fact that he is so sure of a victorious outcome, or that the public will about-face with Putin’s image, shows his confidence.

 

 

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