It is election time in Russia but nobody is in any real doubt that Vladimir Putin will win what he wants. But are there telltale signs of weakness emerging, asks GIS expert Professor Stefan Hedlund in this special report.

HOLDING general elections has an obvious purpose in countries with a democratic tradition.

Citizens exercise their rights at the polling booths to determine the configuration of power and the formulation of economic and other policies.

But in Russia the rulers have never granted their subjects such rights. And there are no indications that this is about to change any time soon.

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Foreign governments and media were ready to accept that every such election was marked by electoral fraud, at times even on a massive scale. They condoned this because a communist victory would have been tantamount to a complete reversal of economic and political reform
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