Why Putin cares about the numbers in Sunday's election

Putin arrives to give an annual speech from the Kremlin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

This Sunday Vladimir Putin will win his fourth term as Russian president. One of the only uncertainties ahead of the vote is how big the turnout will be. The Kremlin had initially set a target of a 70 percent result for Putin with 70 percent turnout, though it may have backed off on that in the past few days. 

Still, why does Putin care about these numbers at all? Isn’t he going to win no matter what? Won’t he remain the near-Tsar of today’s Russia no matter how many people vote for him, or don’t? Yes and yes. But…