World reacts to Putin's victory

Responses of countries and politicians to the widely expected Russian election outcome have ranged from the effusive to the sarcastic.

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    Here's a quick round-up of global reactions to Vladimir Putin's not-so surprising triumph in the Russian presidential elections:

    First prize for effusiveness goes to ... Syria, where the official news agency said President Bashar al-Assad "offered in his name and that of the Syrian people his sincere congratulations for his remarkable election".

    Another happy man was Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, who sent his personal congratulations to Moscow, saying that Vladimir Putin had "initiated a strategic relationship of co-operation between Venezuela and Russia, connected by a very strong bond of friendship".

    There was also a warm reaction from Beijing.

    President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory message, and the Chinese foreign ministry said the election had been "a success".

    West's reaction

    In contrast, Western reactions have been almost uniformly tepid. The EU, according to the foreign affairs head, Catherine Ashton, "took note" of the election. In this context, "took note" would appear to be diplomacy speak for "we recognise it happened, but we are not overly delighted by it".

    Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, registered a similar rection. "I take note that President Putin is our interlocutor for years to come ... The election was not exemplary ... [but] ... there was no brutal repression during the campaign, as might have been the case in other times," he said.

    Talk about damning with faint praise.

    The reaction from the US, meanwhile, was even more restrained.

    The official statement from Washington DC did not mention Vladimir Putin by name. It said that the US “looks forward to working with the president-elect after the results are certified and he is sworn in”.

    US statement

    The US statement noted concerns about “the conditions under which the campaign was conducted, the partisan use of government resources and procedural irregularities on election day”.

    However, it also recognised the Russian government's efforts to reform the system, including the reintroduction of direct elections for governors and the simplification of registration procedures for parties and presidential candidates.

    Lastly, the award for sarcasm goes to US senator and former presidential candidate, John McCain, who, after watching Putin's surprisingly weepy appearance at a victory rally, tweeted: "Dear Vlad, Surprise! Surprise! You won. The Russian people are crying too!"

    Mind you, Senator McCain has form when it comes to taunting Vladimir Putin. When protests broke out in Russia after December's disputed parliamentary elections, he tweeted: “Dear Vlad, The #ArabSpring is coming to a neighborhood near you".

    Putin responded by describing McCain as "nuts".


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