NATAN SHUSTIN, a Moscow native, casts his ballot 390.
(photo credit: NATAN SHUSTIN, a Moscow native, casts his ballot)
Despite the cold and rainy weather, Russians in Israel flocked to polling
stations set up across the country on Sunday to vote in the Russian presidential
By 4 p.m. Sunday about 7,800 Russians – tourists and
immigrants with dual citizenship – had cast their ballots, according to the
Russian Embassy’s press service.
Around 160,000 Russians in Israel have
the right to vote in the presidential elections, and the embassy opened 13
polling stations, including in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Ashkelon, all of
which have sizable populations of Russian immigrants and tourists, but also in
smaller cities including Eilat and Upper Nazareth.
In Tel Aviv, people
were already standing in line outside the Russian Consulate on Ben- Yehuda
Street at 8 a.m., when polls opened, and according to Russia’s Channel One, by
10 a.m. more than 1,500 people had voted at the station.
stations in the smaller towns reported a large turnout. In Karmiel, Boris from the polling station at the Russky Klub on
Mishaol Harakefet Street told The Jerusalem Post
that there had been a steady
stream of voters.
“There were a lot of people, a real crowd,” he said
late on Sunday afternoon. “There’s still time to come and vote,” he added,
noting that the polls would remain open until 8 p.m.
According to Israeli
blogger and photographer Daniel Nasibov, reporting for Russian- language Channel
9, several voters at the Beersheba polling station said they had voted for
“Who else is there to vote for? [Communist Party candidate
Gennady] Zyuganov? 70 years of communism was enough,” one voter
Haifa-based Russian news portal Novosti Haifa reported large crowds
of voters in the northern city. Russian consul-general in Haifa Igor Popov said
he was satisfied with the turnout, and that he believed Russians had started to
take voting more seriously.
The Russian Embassy kept up a steady stream
of Twitter posts about the elections throughout the day, tweeting photographs of
voters around Israel. One photo showed a group of Russian Orthodox priests from
the Gornensky Monastery in Ein Kerem, who traveled together to Jerusalem’s
Russian cultural center on Jaffa Street to vote.
Russians living overseas
were able to vote at 384 polling stations in 147 countries, with the Russian
Central Election Commission sending some 1,300,000 voting slips to diplomatic
The high turnout in Israel was seen in other countries as well,
according to news agency ITAR-TASS, which cited Russia’s First Deputy Foreign
Minister Andrei Denisov as saying that voting among overseas Russians had been
“active” and “higher than in the Duma elections in December.”
a choice of five candidates: Nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal
Democratic Party), Gennady Zyuganov (Communist Party of the Russian Federation),
Sergey Mironov (Just Russia), independent candidate Mikhail Prokhorov,
billionaire former leader of probusiness party Right Cause, and current Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin (United Russia).