As Vladimir Putin was running circles around Barack Obama, opposition mayoral candidate Navalny was giving Putin’s Kremlin a lessen in American retail politics. Putin won big on Syria but lost big in the Moscow mayor’s race, whose outcome may change Russian politics in the long run.
In the September 8 Moscow mayoral election, incumbent, Sergei Sobyanian, narrowly avoided a run off with 51.2 percent of the votes. Challenger, lawyer, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, officially received 17.2 percent. The Moscow Electoral Commission subsequently declared Sobyanian the victor. Navalny continues to challenge the vote in the courts with truckloads of evidence of voter fraud. Navalny has a snowball’s chance in hell of reversing the outcome in Russia’s courts.