Friday, 05 March 2021

W Weekly Update

March 17-24

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Russia elects its Fuhrer

Russian President Vladimir Putin won a landslide re-election victory on March 18, garnering 76.7 percent of the vote. Opposition activists highlighted a number of cases of vote rigging and statistical anomalies, including millions of votes cast in polling places that recorded exactly 85%, 90% and 95% turnout. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said that there had been no real choice and complained it had been marked by unfair pressure on critical voices. “Choice without real competition, as we have seen here, is not real choice.” OSCE also stated that restrictions on fundamental freedoms, as well as on candidate registration, had limited the space for political engagement.

The world leaders weren’t too prompt to congratulate Vladimir Putin over his “victory”. BBC informs, that the U.S. President Donald J. Trump congratulated Putin despite specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call. Senator John McCain had immediately reacted with a furious tweet: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

But Donald Trump wasn’t the only one to send his congratulations. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sent their congratulatory notes. Garry Kasparov reacted to this on his Twitter: “Trump, Merkel, Juncker et al, should just say "Congratulations Mr. Putin on crushing all opposition & democracy in Russia. We eagerly look forward to more of your assassinations, invasions, corruption, extortion, & election interference.”


Nicolas Sarkozy is arrested

The Guardian reports, that “the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation for illegal campaign financing, accepting bribes and the misappropriation of Libyan state funds over allegations that he received millions of euros in illegal election campaign funding from the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.”

Sarkozy was released on bail on March 21 after two days of questioning in police custody by investigators specializing in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The Guardian writes that “the investigation is potentially France’s most explosive political financing scandal in decades. The allegations of illegal campaign funding by a foreign dictator on a massive scale are unprecedented and are the most serious accusations levelled at a former president in recent French history.”


Prepared by Marina Muradyan

01 March 2021
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