It is hardly earth-shattering news, but the United Russia party has officially endorsed Vladimir Putin as the party’s presidential candidate. The election will take place on 4 March 2012. ITAR TASS reports that the decision to nominate Putin so early was to boost the party’s support in advance of the legislative elections, which will be held on 4 December.
The other Putin-related story that is currently doing the rounds concerns the poor reception that he received at a public engagement recently. He attended a contest between a Russian and an American fighter. The Russian won. Putin then climbed into the ring and started making a speech. He was booed by the audience. The event was covered on state television.
To say the least, it is unusual for Putin to be booed and even more unusual for it to happen live on television. Some people are trying to interpret it as the precursor of a ‘Russian spring’ with elections looming. This is perhaps over-optimistic. However, it is perhaps a sign that the regime is not as popular as it may seem.
There is footage of the booing here.