9 Polling Stations to Open for Russian Elections
The Russian Embassy in Estonia has said it will open nine polling stations in Tallinn, Tartu and Narva to allow its citizens to vote in the March 4 presidential elections.
According to the Central Electoral Committee of the Russian Federation, around 117,000 voting-age Russian citizens currently reside in Estonia.
How many of them will actually turn up at the ballot box is another question. During the two-day Russian State Duma elections in December, only about 15,000 ballots were cast in the country.
Russian officials and local activists have in the past blamed the low turnout in Estonia on the small number of polling stations allowed by the host country and the resulting long queues. A local Russian citizens' group in Narva meanwhile said that voter apathy was the culprit, pointing the finger at Russia for ignoring its electorate in Estonia.
Apathy may be an even stronger factor in March as former president and current prime minister Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win the vote. Opinion polls taken from late December to mid-January give him support levels of 44 to 52 percent, far ahead of his closest rivals.
Presidents in Russia are elected for a six-year term.