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Moscow's mayor pens a (probably illegal) love note to President Putin


On Sunday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin published a blog post titled “Why Am I Going to Vote for Vladimir Putin?” where he explained support for the president and urged Muscovites to vote on March 18.

Sobyanin’s outreach comes days after a state-run pollster reported that Putin’s presidential candidate ratings slipped 12 percentage points in Moscow and St. Petersburg between mid-January and mid-February, falling from almost 70 percent to just above 57 percent.

Sobyanin probably broke the law

The mayor’s blog post appears to violate Russian election laws, which prohibit state officials from campaigning for anyone. Officials aren’t even allowed to indicate how they’ll vote. Sergey Sirotkin, a member of Russia’s Central Election Committee, has called Sobyanin’s blog post “unethical,” saying that “the law may have been violated.” Sirotkin also left himself some wiggle room, however, arguing that the mayor’s announcement is more “a recognition of his love for the president” than an outright act of political campaigning.