Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

We’ve all been there. You’re on stage outside, you’ve just secured an impossible victory forgotten to wear a hat, and an icy wind is blowing in your face.

Suddenly you’re blinking away tears.

We’ll never really know what was going on when Russia’s freshly-reinstated president Vladimir Putin appeared to weep during his victory speech on Sunday night. Was it simply a physical reaction to the bitterly cold wind, as his spokesman later claimed? Some well-timed eye-drops? Or a natural emotional response at the end of a long week?

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By Gideon Rachman

This weekend offered a rogues’ gallery of phoney democracy in action. In Russia it was announced that Vladimir Putin had been swept back to the Kremlin, after a suspiciously smashing first-round victory in the presidential election. Iran staged its first parliamentary elections since the rigged presidential poll of 2009 and the violent suppression of the Green movement. And in China, the National People’s Congress – the country’s rubber-stamp parliament – assembled for its annual meeting. It is a coincidence – but perhaps no accident – that these are the three nations that have emerged as the closest protectors of Syria’s murderous one-party state.