Sputnik: What do you make of the coverage of the election?
Vladimir Golstein: The devil is in the detail, the interesting thing is how many votes Putin's key opponent Grudinin gets. Grudinin has presented himself as a Communist but he has more or less stressed his domestic agenda and the little reorientation of Russia from the West, more concentration on domestic policies. So the big question will be what percentage of votes he'll get.
There will be a referendum on Putin's domestic policy; the problem is that most Russians agree with his foreign policy — except for the liberals who will get 0.5 percent of the vote — but there are a lot of issues with domestic policy, a lot of people complaining about corruption. People complain about distribution, complain about lack of growth, these are the issues he'll have to address, sooner or later
Sputnik: How important is this election domestically for Russia in terms of the challenges the country is facing economically and politically?
Sputnik: What impact will the election results have on Russia's relations with the West, especially with the growing tensions between the London & Moscow?
Vladimir Golstein: I don't think it will have any result. Russians are already used to this endless bullying from the West, they dismiss it and they see it as totally ridiculous and not addressing the real issues. So I don't think it's going to get any change. Putin has an unbelievable mandate, people approve of his policies, so he is not going to bend over and please England for no reason, or the United States — that's the surest way for him to lose popularity and support. So I don't think it will change in terms of his foreign policy at all.
The opinions expressed are those of speaker only and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik News.