What is said on TV ain’t necessary what be. The things that are likely to appear nightly, they ain’t necessarily so

Western Monitors Criticize Russian Elections

Denis Sinyakov/Reuters – A protester held up a sign that read, “I did not vote!” in Moscow on Sunday.

So while thinking about surprises in the election in Egypt and the way press coverage changes or the way the media characterizes elections, I ran across a slew of headlines on the recent Russian parliamentary election.  The upcoming presidential election wherein Vladimir Putin is going to be again running to run the country – directly and not through a surrogate this time has caused people to pay attention to Russian politics more closely than they normally do.  Putin may be popular (or not depending on the political position of the news media presenting you with the story) in Russia, but his return to presidency is not a popular idea with the former enemies of the Russia and the Soviet Socialist Republic.  Everything that concerns the process of his reelection  interests the western powers, including the way Putin has interpreted Russian law.  According to Russian law he could not run again after his last term because of the statutory term limits, however Putin has interpreted to mean consecutive terms, not total number of terms, therefore he is free to take over the presidency again.

Polls in Russia have shown that his party, United Russia is losing a bit of its popularity, observers have speculated that might hinder his chances of being re-elected.  So these parliamentary elections are seen as test of his popularity.  United Russia won 50 percent (some sources are reporting 48%) of the votes; the party had  a huge majority compared to any other party.  We would call that a landslide victory were it to occur here.  But not it seems if it happens in Russia.  I propose to make my point with some of the headlines – it does not require much commentary.  The first headlines are from the Russian media sources and then a couple from one Russian ally, China, the rest are all from outside Russia, countries that are not necessarily friends of Russia’s form of democracy.

United Russia Wins Less Than 50% ;  Investors Upbeat About New Duma Paradigm; Moscow Times, 12-5-11; 5,000 Protest Duma Election Results – Moscow Times, 12-5-11; United Russia gets over 99 percent of votes in Chechnya – RIA Novosti, 12-5-11; Local flavor marks Russian elections – RT Russian TV, 12-4-11; Foreigners give Russian elections two thumbs up – The Voice of Russia, 12-5-11

 Russian democracy receives little applause – China Global Times, 12-5-11; Russia’s ruling party leads Duma election – China Daily, 12-5-11

Putin shaken by United Russia’s poor election performance;  Russia election descends into violence as riot police clash with protesters  – UK Guardian, 12-5-11

 A Disappointing Landslide: Poor Election Showing Weakens Putin, Der Spiegel, 12-5-11

Putin’s party clings to reduced majority in Russia; Thousands rally against vote result – Al Arabiya, 12-5-11

 Western Monitors Criticize Russian Elections – New York Times, 12-5-11

 Russia’s ruling party leads Duma election – National Public Radio, 12-5-11

Putin’s party has domination cut in Russia – Reuters, Chicago Tribune, 12-5-11

Putin’s party has domination cut in Russia – Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, 12-5-11

Russia’s Problems Laid Bare – Wall Street Journal, 12-5-11

Do you remember our hanging chad election and the Supreme Court’s ruling?  I wonder how that played out in the press in Russia and China?  Whenever you read a political story, the first thing you need to know is the political bias of the media outlet and the reporter. How does that go – “let the buyer beware.”


1 Response to “What is said on TV ain’t necessary what be. The things that are likely to appear nightly, they ain’t necessarily so”

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