Feb. 29 - Reindeer breeders and pensioners in Russia's far North will likely support Putin in presidential election, with few counting on change. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A reindeer breeder on the tundra in the far North of Russia. Many live in remote nomad camps, migrating along the Northern regions of the country. It is a place where life moves in increments ---and there are few expectations for that to change as Russians prepare for a presidential vote March 4th. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) REINDEER BREEDER ILYA LEDKOV SAYING: "There are always hopes for changes for the better, but perhaps we will still live like this, in tents, no one will change it for us. It's impossible to live here in mobile containers or in wooden houses, so we will carry all our belongings with us, in winter and in summer." In the Nenets autonomous district in the far North, many will be casting their votes for Vladimir Putin. Some with reluctance (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PENSIONER VALENTINA POZDEYEVA SAYING: "Who would I vote for? I'd rather vote for nobody, but most likely I will vote for Putin, I like his current program, but what will be the result?" Still many people say they are satisfied with their life, even those who would rather vote for communists. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN RESIDENT OF NARYAN-MAR: "We are satisfied with life, I wouldn't say we are (unhappy), the people in our district live rather well in general. They take care of pensioners, old people, that is why I don't want to criticize our authorities and say anything negative." Putin has promised increased spending if he wins his bid for the presidency. That certainly could be welcome news in the far North where residents still await the completion of a road to connect the region with the rest of Russia. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters