Washington (CNN) Donald Trump doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his puzzling relationship with Vladimir Putin — that includes his own foreign policy team, Republican senators and US allies.
Oh yes it does … read more here:
“Now is the season of Lent. I took it upon myself never to get angry and not to raise my voice. Oh well, I’ll try again next year,” – Alexey Navalny tweeted.
“Did he also announce the results? Would save everyone a lot of time and effort.”
“Every free world leader who congratulates Putin on his “election” is complicit in his global war on democracy. They undermine their own status as freely elected leaders.”
– Gary Kasparov tweeted.
Putin wins 76.6% of vote with 67% turnout amid accusations of vote rigging and monitor abuse
- The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.
- Monitors organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny and others complained of ballot stuffing and other methods of increasing turnout in Sunday’s votes, but an official from Russia’s elections committee said no serious violations had taken place.
- In some areas, free food and discounts in local shops were on offer near polling stations.
- Video recordings from polling stations showed irregularities in a number of towns and cities across Russia. Several showed election officials stuffing boxes with ballot papers.
- During polling day, independent election monitoring group Golos reported hundreds of irregularities, including:
- Voting papers found in some ballot boxes before polls opened
- Observers were barred from entering some polling stations
- Some people were bussed in amid suspicion of forced voting
- Webcams at polling stations were obstructed by balloons and other obstacle
- In Dagestan, one election official said he was prevented from doing his job by a crowd of men who blocked the ballot box.
- Several Russians told CNN of a culture of pressure to support the President. A public service employee who asked to remain anonymous said that all the workers in his office were verbally told to go to a celebration rally commemorating the election on Sunday evening.
Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission, said there were no serious violations [Ed.: surprise, surprise]. “We have analysed and monitored everything we could, everything that has arrived. Thank goodness, it’s all rather modest so far,” she told a commission meeting while speaking about violations.
Britain and its politicians prostitute themselves to the Russian oligarchs and their immense wealth. In fact, they should be doing the very opposite. Denying them entry into the UK and confiscating their illegal assets that are a simple money laundering front.
Days before Russia’s presidential elections, police are trying to seize documents that give activist observers access to polling stations and a leading elections watchdog has unexpectedly seen its office lease revoked.
“You shouldn’t hold this event here or you’ll have trouble,” Roman Udot, a representative for the independent Golos Association elections watchdog, said his landlord was told by police before they ripped up the contract. The “event” was a call centre to field reports of election violations. The government denies interfering.
Russia’s short, frustrating and listless presidential campaign is grinding to its inevitable conclusion. Even Vladimir Putin hardly seems enthused, devoting less than two minutes to a final campaign speech in Crimea, the peninsula he annexed from Ukraine in 2014 to domestic acclaim and international condemnation.
Early in this millennium an exotic new species appeared in London. They were men of the genus nouveau riche, but they were different in important ways from other variations. They flew in private jets. They were accompanied by fashion models. They were surrounded by bodyguards, in a country where the police do not bear arms. Their brashness as much as their accent revealed their origin – they came in from the cold. They were the oligarchs from Russia.
Initially, they were not particularly welcome in the place they insisted on calling tumanny (foggy) Albion. “Shadowy tycoon from Siberia”, who made his fortune in “murky oil deals”, was the most flattering epithet the British press awarded Roman Abramovich when he offered to purchase Chelsea FC.
Things changed when the oligarchs started buying the most expensive propertiesin London and Surrey, opening bank accounts for their companies (many of which were based in overseas British island territories) and buying British football clubs.
Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, welcomed them in their language: Dobro pozhalovat!
And they stayed, establishing property price records year after year, being chauffeured in customised Mercedes-Maybachs, shopping in Harrods and dining in restaurants where only they could afford to eat. They have been around for almost 20 years, a super-rich colony in the heart of the capital. Many maintain ties with Russia and most remain “non-doms” – a dazzling loophole in the British tax system.
Meanwhile Londoners eagerly cater to their needs as butlers and architects, accountants and lawyers, interior designers and private tutors, personal shoppers and family officers. But their most important facilitator has been the UK government itself, which has rolled out the red carpet to a group whose enormous wealth became part of a narrative about a new golden age for the capital.