Even with the outcome all but certain, Vladimir Putin took to the airwaves today to urge Russians to vote in Sunday’s elections. Putin wants to enable his hand-picked presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev, to claim a strong mandate, so the government is pushing for turnout of at least 65%, the London Times reports. That puts pressure on regional politicians and factory owners .
“The opinion of each of you is important," Putin said. "I ask you to vote for our and your future, for Russia’s future.” He did not name Medvedev, but the implication was clear. “Who will bring to the post of head of state real value for all the citizens of our great homeland?" Last December’s election showed widespread ballot-stuffing as different regions sought to deliver the highest turnout.