Sputnik: What's your prediction for the outcome of the election and what are your general thoughts about today's presidential election in Russia?
Dr. Germano Dottori: Our pollsters predict a sound victory for the incumbent. President Putin should easily get his fourth term in the Kremlin. But that will be just a part of the story. The Russian leadership hopes for a high turnout at the polls, and a uniform support by the Russian people. Special attention will also be devoted to the results of the most important cities, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Sputnik: How do you see the international community reacting to the elections, Dr. Dottori? Do you think we will hear a lot of allegations from the mainstream Western media that the elections have been unfair?
Dr. Germano Dottori: In my opinion, the reaction of the international community will be shaped mainly by the mainstream media, as you said. But if Putin will get 70% of the votes or more, they will resort to the usual stereotypes, embracing the view that the competition was not really free, just because Mr. Navalny was out. Should Putin get instead a smaller percentage, they will say that the legitimacy of his leadership is [put] into question. So, we should be prepared for that.
Sputnik: What's your prognosis regarding the development of Russia and its relations with other countries during the next presidential term and, especially, with Italy?
Dr. Germano Dottori: Well, the development of Russia and its relations with other countries will depend on many factors, in my opinion. Many of them, unfortunately, are out of Russian control. Russia needs a global stability and it can contribute to achieve a better international environment. But this is to be seen. If it's main partners will be on the same page.
The United States and Europe are the key actors in this process. If they will align on an agenda aimed at a real reconciliation with Russia, there is hope that the next term of Mr. Putin will be quite fruitful to Russia. As far as bilateral relations with Italy, they are already recovering. Most of the Italian political forces, even the current government, oppose sanctions and think they should be lifted. The problem with Italy is its longstanding structural weakness in Europe and nobody know at present when Italy will get after the election, a new government, and how stable it will be.
The views and opinions expressed Dimitri Speck are those of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.