Commentary for Bloomberg.com

“It’s a very strange campaign because Putin sees the election as a harmful thing that distracts him from his real task’’ of running the country, said Tatiana Stanovaya, an independent political analyst. “He’s not interested in what voters care about.’’

Struggling with a cold for much of the campaign, Putin attended few election events and, as in previous contests, dodged televised debates with his opponents. Meanwhile, state broadcasters lavished coverage on presidential visits to Russia’s regions.

With two days to go before the vote, the Kremlin Friday announced Putin had already ordered his staff to draft policy decrees covering the next term.

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