It wasn’t a surprise victory by any stretch when Vladimir Putin’s political heir apparent, Dmitry Medvedev, soundly trounced the competition Sunday to become Russia’s next president. However, at least one election-vetting organization, as well as dozens of activists arrested by police as they gathered in Moscow to protest, questioned whether democracy truly won the day.
German congratulations were mixed with regret about apparent irregularities. Mr Medvedev, 42, won by a landslide.
In Moscow, police arrested dozens of people ahead of an opposition rally.
[...] Earlier, the head of observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Andreas Gross, said Russia’s “democratic potential” was unfulfilled.
Mr Gross, whose team was the only Western observer mission in Russia, said candidates had been denied equal access to the media, and registration procedures made it hard for independents to stand.
But he conceded that Mr Medvedev had a solid mandate.
AP photo / RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, pool
Passing the presidential baton: Vladimir Putin, left, leads a salute to his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow’s Red Square following Sunday’s vote.