As many as 47 Russian nationals residing in the State as well as Russian tourists cast their votes for the Russian Presidential election, scheduled to take place on March 4, at a special polling held at the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Thiruvanathapuram on Friday.

Keeping in mind the large number of Russian nationals residing in the State, the Consul sought a special permission for conducting polling in Thiruvananthapuram for the first time, said Ratheesh C. Nair, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation

“Each vote makes a difference and I want to become a part of it. The protest in our country is a message to the government that we want to be treated right,” said Olga Godlevskaya, a tourist to Kovalam.

Verification

The Russian nationals who arrived at the centre as early as 10 a.m. underwent passport verification, following which they were given the form containing the names of the presidential candidates with their brief biography. Citizens casted their vote in a private polling booth and the voting lasted for two hours. The sealed box would be sent to Chennai to reach Russia before March 4.

Anna Sankar, a native of Moscow and settled in the city with her Indian husband for more than three years, said that her “voting made no sense.” Nevertheless, she wanted to excise her right and that too after a gap of 10 years.

While there was a mixed reaction as to who would win the elections, no one ruled out victory for a “new face.” “We do not want to see more of Putin. There is high level of discrimination among people and the government does not seem to care about such issues,” said Artemy Sheremetier, a native ofSt. Petersburg.

Taking a break from their touring days, Irine Vaulina and her group of five friends had cast their votes but not before engaging themselves in a debate on the candidates.

“Voting is important because we want our rights and this is our way of seeking it,” said Ms. Irine.