US Election: What if Russia could vote?

Kyle Kim
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MOSCOW, Russia — As part of GlobalPost's project to interview 100 people in 20 locations around the world about the 2012 US election, we asked Russians:

Who do you want to win the 2012 US election?

Will the election affect your country?

How has your view of the US changed since President Obama took office?

What should the next US president do?

  • Country: Russia
  • Name: Yevgeny Stalevich
  • Occupation: Lawyer
  • Age: 26
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "Obama. He's a man with a constructive view. He initiated the “reset” [policy with Russia]. He swam in the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill to show people it's clean. It shows he cares."

The election's impact: "Of course. The countries can't live in isolation from each other, they are both members of the G8. The impact of the election will be great. If Obama wins, the relationship will continue to become more liberalized. If it's someone else, they could go to war with us. I am against war. War is evil."

My view: "Hard to say. I was against the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia. I was against the war in Afghanistan. But America is in a transition period now, from a militant nation to a nation of freedom." 

Top priority: "To make the rich and the poor in his country more equal. A poor person has to work very hard in the United States to close that gap. The president has to improve the situation inside his country. There is a large debt, problems with Native Americans, confederates. Without political will, these problems will continue to grow."
  • Country: Russia
  • Name: Aleksei Tararov
  • Occupation: Employee performance manager
  • Age: 27
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "Probably Obama because I share his democratic values. I feel close to the value of liberalism. I agree with his foreign policy. The Democratic foreign policy is softer, more open. I didn’t like George Bush, his aggressive foreign policy. I found his politics of double standards quite suspicious."

The election's impact: "Of course it will. I think it will radically affect the ‘reset.’ If Obama stays, then the reset will continue, there have already been improvements from Bush’s time. The Democrats have a similar world view regarding foreign policy with Russia, even though they act in the interests of the United States." 
My view: "Definitely improved, although not by much. The change in foreign policy, the change in course of building Russian-American relations, has become more constructive. There are less territorial disputes than under Bush. At least now the missile shield is being discussed. There are no ultimatums. It seems that agreement in the future could be reached."

Top Priority: "As much as I am a patriot, I will admit that the United States is a world leader. They have so much power. They need to use all their power, the UN, etc. to do everything to stabilize the world order, which is getting hotter. They need to find a compromise, find a way out of these contentious situations that will please everyone. You know, in Syria, everyone has their own interests. I would wish that the new president would try to find the compromise and that justice would prevail in the end. Assad does not need to resign. He has many people behind him in that country. And he [the new president] needs to come clean about what John McCain is doing — supporting opposition forces in all countries to create pro-American governments."
  • Country: Russia
  • Name: Nastya Neizvestnova 
  • Occupation: Student
  • Age: 19
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "Obama. He's happy. He's black. It's cool he's president. They don't like black people over there [the United States], there is racism, but he's president anyway."

The election's impact "No, unless he [the next president] is stupid and he will start a war with us. But that's not likely."

My view: "No Four years ago I didn't think much about America. And now I don't think much about it either." 

Top priority: "Isn't the country at war with someone? He needs to stop the war. And he should watch what they [Americans] eat. There are a lot of fat people there, right?" 
  • Country: Russia
  • Name: Valentina Rzheva 
  • Occupation: Pensioner
  • Age: 60
  • I would vote for: Undecided
My vote: "I don't know, can't say. I’m sick of elections. We had one, but did anything change?"

The election's impact: "Possibly there will be some effect. The relationship with Russia will become closer, the countries can't remain isolated. Russia is strong, no matter how much everyone tries to say otherwise, it can’t be ignored."

My view: "I don't know, it didn't really change. Obama seems ok. He doesn't irritate me. I need to go there [the United States] to really have an opinion. It doesn't make sense to judge from afar." 

Top priority: "Stop meddling in other countries' affairs. They don't need to solve everyone's problems. America should grow closer to Russia. It would be good for such powerful states to be friendly, it would be good for both countries."
  • Country: Russia
  • Name: Tatiana Tsakhilova
  • Occupation: Accountant
  • Age: 55
  • I would vote for: Romney
My vote: "Anyone is better than Obama. He’s incomprehensible. He talks a lot, but doesn’t do much."

The election's impact: "I don’t think they will affect Russia much. Russia is independent from America. She stands by herself no matter what happens."

My view: "I visited Florida a while ago. I didn’t want to stay there. I liked the people very much. I didn’t like Bush. But I don’t like Obama either. He’s unpredictable, he is involved in shady politics. America needs a new president."

Top priority:  "First of all, he needs to stop all the wars, that are ongoing and brewing. At least stop the fighting in Syria. He needs to stop teaching Russia how to live. American democracy exists for all people, except Americans. He should get his country in order before telling others what to do. They [Americans] need to stop meddling in other countries."

GlobalPost series: See what the world thinks about election 2012

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