Russia’s upper house of parliament formally set March 4, 2012 as the date for the country’s presidential election. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is widely expected to return to the job for a third term after President Dmitry Medvedev in September agreed to step aside, in a job swap with Mr. Putin.
The prospect of having the former president return to power apparently has some Russians upset. Mr. Putin was recently, and unprecedentedly, booed in public at a sporting event in Moscow and he has fallen in some public opinion polls. This rare show of animosity towards one of Russia’s most popular men has analysts weighing in.
Alexei Mukhin says that this may mean problems for Mr. Putin in next year’s elections. Mukhin says that any sign that Vladimir Putin is unpopular is a political sensation, because in the past Mr. Putin has been seen as a widely accepted leader. Now, according to Mukhin, it looks like some groups might be turning away from him.
Mr. Putin’s ruling United Russia party is also predicted to lose seats in the upcoming December 4th parliamentary elections although its widely expected to retain its majority.