Communist strongman benefits from protest vote

Russia's Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, complained yesterday of vote rigging in the presidential election, although he might have been expected to be pleased with his achievement in capturing most of the protest vote against the inevitable winner, Vladimir Putin.

Election night turned out to be more exciting than the campaign, as for a few hours it seemed that Mr Zyuganov might have pushed Mr Putin into a second round. In the event, the acting president did win outright, with just over 52 per cent of the vote. But with his result of nearly 30 per cent, Mr Zyuganov showed that he had managed to attract more than his usual following of elderly voters nostalgic for the Soviet Union.

Almost certainly, those extra voters were protesting at the way in which the retired president, Boris Yeltsin, gave unfair advantages to his chosen successor. Emerging from polling stations on Sunday, a number of Moscow voters said that they were angry at the lack of healthy competition.

The rest of the protest vote went to the liberal Grigory Yavlinsky, who came third with nearly 6 per cent, and to "Ivan Against-Them-All", as anarchistic voters jokingly described the option of rejecting all 11 candidates. In an impressive result for the nihilists, "Ivan" came sixth, ahead of the rightist, Konstantin Titov, and Ella Pamfilova, the only woman in the race.

The strong performance by the Communists, tenacious in Siberia and "red belt" farming areas bordering Ukraine, suggested that to some extent Russia was still agonising over the merits of communism and capitalism, a debate between the older and younger generations. But in this poll, a person voting Communist was really expressing disapproval of Mr Yeltsin, who slid into corruption, and the fear that Mr Putin was a continuation of Mr Yeltsin.

Yavlinsky supporters were more likely to have been concerned about the threat to personal and press freedom and human rights that any crackdown by Mr Putinmight bring.

The new president, who will keep his existing government team until his expected inauguration on 5 May, was modest in victory and said he was open to co-operation with his former rivals.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue