This article was written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/elections-to-the-russian-duma-in-2016/
Judging by the reactions in the western corporate media, the 2016 elections to the Russian Duma are basically a non-event: evil Putin kept his “grip on power”, all the parties in the Duma are basically under his control and no real opposition was allowed to emerge. Even in Russia, there are some who agree, but for different reasons. They say that everybody knew that United Russia (the party of Putin and Medvedev) would win no matter what and that the entire election was therefore a rather boring event. Actually, there is some truth in all of the above, but this also completely misses the point.
Problem number one: Russia ain’t Switzerland
The single most important thing to understand about Russia is that she is not a western or European country. If the Ukie nationalists like to say that “the Ukraine is Europe”, then I would paraphrase them and say that “Russia is Asia” (the Ukies agree with that, by the way). This is not quite true, in reality Russia is Russia, but it is much closer to the truth than most observers care to admit. In the case of elections, for example, Russia is much more like Japan: she has that mandatory external veneer of democracy, but in reality, the Russian people’s attitude to authority and power is much more similar to the attitude of the Japanese: they understand that the real power and authority in Russia (or Japan) does not really depend on election results and that the real centers of power in these countries are either vested in individuals (such as Putin or the Emperor), or in informal groups of people (state security and business people in Russia, old families and industrialists in Japan).
That does not make elections irrelevant, however, far from it. They are, in fact, a key way to get a sense of what the public opinion and, depending on the outcome, they can send a very powerful message to those who “have ears to hear”.
Problem number two: the real opposition in Russia is not in the Duma, it is in the Kremlin
There is a lot of truth to the accusation that the Duma is just a rubber-stamping club and that all of the parties which made it into the Duma (United Russia, Communists, Liberal Democrats and Fair Russia) are pro-Putin. They are! But that misses the point. The real point is that while United Russia is generally pro-Putin and pro-Medvedev, the other three are very strongly anti-Medvedev, anti-Russian government and, especially, anti-the economic-financial ministers of the Medvedev government. The truth is, the real opposition to Putin is precisely that, the economic-financial ministers of the Medvedev government and all the factions which they represent: bankers, IMF-drones, corrupt businessmen from the 1990s who hate Putin because he does not allow them to steal like in the past, all the ex-Nomenklatura and their kids who made a killing in the 1990s and whose heart is in the West, the Atlantic Integrationists à la Kudrin who are basically “Washington consensus types” and who hate the Russian people for voting for Putin. That is the real opposition and that opposition is far more dangerous than the US and NATO combined. And for that opposition the result of the elections are a crushing defeat. Why?
Because besides the hyper-official “power party” United Russia, all the other parties in the Duma are far more anti-capitalist and anti-American than Putin. For the Empire, “United Russia” is as good as it will ever get. Any alternative will be far, far worse.
As for the overtly pro-US political parties (like PARNAS or Iabloko), they barely got 3% together, way less than the minimum of 5% (for each party) that they needed to get into the Duma. This basically confirm what I always said: there are no real pro-US forces in Russia, none.
What does this all mean? Simple:
The Russian people got a rubber-stamping Duma, which is exactly what they wanted!
Maybe this is not great in terms of “democracy”, but in terms of real “people power” this is a fantastic result.
What about the turnout? Does the roughly 48% (provisional figure) participation indicate that the boycott proclaimed by some liberals worked? Hardly. For one thing, this level of participation is actually pretty good, ssimilar to what Swiss parliamentary elections typically score. Furthermore, a lot of United Russia voters were so sure of their overwhelming victory that they did not even bother to vote. Had they shown up the United Russia score would have been even bigger.
What about fraud? Yes, there were instances, but since the new system makes it possible to for every citizen to monitor every single polling station live, they were rapidly caught and dealt with. To its great chagrin, even the OSCE had to give these elections a “mixed review” which in plain English translates into “oh shit, we ain’t got nothing!”.
These elections were a huge personal victory for Vladimir Putin. Conversely, they are a major faceplant for the Atlantic Integrationists and the AngloZionist Empire. This was also the ultimate proof that the idiotic western plan to destabilize Putin by means of economic sanctions has had the exact opposite effect, thank you: the Russians have circled their wagons around their President and the mood in Russia is one of extreme resolve.
There is one risk for Putin here, but it is minor. The electoral system in Russia means that while the United Russia party got something in the range of 54% of the votes, it will take
238 343 seats out of 450, giving it a comfortable absolute majority. Some observers say that if things do not go well and if the economic crisis does not get better, the Kremlin (both Putin and Medvedev) will not be able to blame it all on the Duma. This is true, but this is also no big deal. First, both Putin and Medvedev can always blame the West for everything even when, like in the case of the frankly idiotic economic policies of the Russian government, even if, in reality, it is the Russian government which is entirely responsible for the crisis and when the West’s sanctions are having only a minor effect on the situation. But far more relevantly, United Russia is not really-really Putin’s party. His *real* party is not a party at all, but rather a movement, the All-Russia People’s Front or “ONF” (I described that organization and its role here). Should things get really tough or should the Atlantic Integrationists try to overthrow Putin during, say, an extraordinary United Russia Congress, Putin would just have to turn the ONF into a regular political party, blame the 5th column for the attempt at regime change and crack down on his opponents with the full support of the Russian people.
The truth is simple: Putin personally and the interests he represents have never been more powerful than today. The overwhelming majority of the Russian people are fully behind the Kremlin and the writing on the wall for the Empire is simple: “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”!
“would win no matter what and that the entire election was therefore a rather boring event. Actually, there is some truth in all of the above, but this also completely misses the point.”
-This was pretty much my view, given the unstable circumstance I can’t image Russians would vote someone new and unknown into power, it seems more standard human behavior to stick to the current leadership when things are instable, so I assume Putin/United Russia would win.. My only interests would be if United Russia got such a majority that they could change the consitution by themselves, because there is a lot in there that needs changing, to those that do not know, the Russian consitution was basically written by USA.
if United Russia got such a majority that they could change the Constitution by themselves, because there is a lot in there that needs changing, to those that do not know, the Russian Constitution was basically written by USA.
Now that is a VERY interesting point. The issue is complex. On one hand, the USA did write the Russian constitution, but they did that to try to make the President powerful. It was, after all, the Eltsin era. Now Putin can laugh in the face of the whining liberals and tell them “but it is YOUR constitution, what is the problem?!”.
But on the other hand, it is a bad constitution, and very much a non-Russian one. It even expressly prohibits any official ideology. There are also other problems with it. Lots of it. But changing could be tricky, as all the 5th columnists will try to sabotage any good changes. I would say that Putin needs to finally purge the Medvedev government and crack down on the banks, and then only start the process of constitutional reforms.
Hugs and cheers,
Absence of ideology is not a bad thing, insofar as a Constitution can be absent of ideology. Like separation of Church and State, there’s far less dogma standing between who and what The People are and the government they can get over time.
If the U.S. screwed up, its that they accidentally gave Russia a working modern constitution more advanced than their own. The U.S. may have had a lot of say in the writing of the Russian Constitution, but who’s to say there weren’t honest political scientists and diplomats who actually wanted to make a good constitution and worked in good faith with their Russian counterparts, who might themselves argue it was their project and more inspired by Speransky than Madison.
Not every American had it or has it in for Russia and not every Russian legislator of the Eltsin era was a stooge. The mechanics of law are fairly neutral. Political science may be a soft science, but not that soft.
Just because it wasn’t a completely home-grown Russian document does not mean its a bad constitution.
Just to confirm your statement Saker. Exactly same perscription happened in former Czechoslovakia and the rest of the former East European countries.
They want to cement Mr. Havel position as a president and now after the death of Mr. Havel .By the direct vote from citizens they have vote for somebody Mr. Zeman who really cares about a nation like Mr. Putin does.
This game just simply smashed into the faces of the manipulators who are planning to conquere the world. Well to bad for them as somebody is cynical will get back this in no time.
As you and others have commented often, it is the Russian Financial system that is in most need of Constitutional reform. How can Russia stand up against / compete with the US when Russian banks are getting 10% (about or higher) interest while the US military is paying only 2% to borrow for their buildup? And where do the bank profits go; who runs the Russian banks? The US confidence in Syria seems to be based in Russian Finances long term, even as the Syrian war drags on and on. With the Russia carrier group moving into the Mediterranean, I think things will continue to escalate. I still wonder, as I have for some time, if our election in the US will be held.
This is something about the “American election”
“The single most important thing to understand about Russia is that she is not a western or European country. If the Ukie nationalists like to say that “the Ukraine is Europe”, then I would paraphrase them and say that “Russia is Asia” (the Ukies agree with that, by the way)”
-Actually, I would say the opposite, it is Russia that is the last democratic European country. USA is an authoritarian regime where the president gives himself power to torture and execute people without a trial(NDAA) and start wars not only against international law but even without approval of the USA senate… Compare that to say Russia, where Putin must ask the Duma for permission to use the military to protect Russians from NATO trained nazi gangs right on Russia border, and Putin still decides not to use military force! And I wont even go into USA crazy election system with superdeleges and all kinds of undemocratic nonsense. There’s obviously no mistaking which government is authoritarian when comparing between Russia and USA.
And EU, lol, the people of EU doesnt even get to elect their own leaders, the MPs they elect to EU doesnt actually have the executive power, all decision and changes are made by unelected bureaucrats in EU! EU is per definition a dictatorship.
All in all I would say that Russia is the last bastion of European civililzation, standing up to a tidal wave of dictatorial liberal totalitarianism.
dear Saker, thanks for the solid analysis, as always…
but I think may have a mistake about the number of seats in the Duma:
“The electoral system in Russia means that while the United Russia party got something in the range of 54% of the votes, it will take 238 seats out of 450, giving it a comfortable absolute majority. ”
According Alexander Mercouris on The Duran:
“the Central Election Commission says United Russia will have a total of 343 seats in the Duma (76.22% of the seats). In other words it will enjoy a ‘constitutional majority’ (which requires 300 seats), enabling it to amend the constitution without needing the support of the other parties.”
Thanks a lot for the correction. The number I mentioned was what United Russia had before these elections. I copied the wrong line :-(
Correction made, thanks a lot!!
Now we wait to see if another shoe drops, especially with regard to the central bank of Russia:
Putin: Nyet to Neo-liberals, Da to National Development
F. William Engdahl
“Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed (the Stolypin economist group–w.e.) to finalize the report of the Stolypin Club and on its basis to prepare a new program of economic development, alternative to Kudrin’s economic plan. The program itself should be given to the Bureau of Economic Council in the IV quarter of 2016.”
. . .
“In 1990 the first priority of Washington and the IMF was to pressure Yeltsin and the Duma to “privatize” the State Bank of Russia, under a Constitutional amendment that mandated the new Central Bank of Russia, like the Federal Reserve or European Central Bank, be a purely monetarist entity whose only mandate is to control inflation and stabilize the Ruble. In effect money creation in Russia was removed from state sovereignty and tied to the US dollar.” [emphasis added]
Engdahl article: http://journal-neo.org/2016/08/02/putin-nyet-to-neo-liberals-da-to-national-development/
“These elections were a huge personal victory for Vladimir Putin. Conversely, they are a major faceplant for the Atlantic Integrationists and the AngloZionist Empire. ”
so this article by Paul Craig Roberts on the American attack on Syrian Military base was a game changer. He indicates the Atlantic Integrationists are voicing cooperation with the US despite the long term decisive risks
what do you think?
I got in an argument with a big supporter of Putin because I said I was against the decision to ban porn sites. I said: first gays and lesbians, now porn lovers get attacked also?
It did not take long before I got called an american gay porn lover. I was told we dont care what you ( bad word) americans think, we care only about our comrades.
Well, that is all fine I suppose. Except I have been watching every move Putin makes hoping he will help set the empire straight ( no pun intended). It scares me if I hear this hate toward minorities coming from ordinary russians because this hatred is exactly what divides us all. As in divide and conquer.
In my mind, the reason people like Yatsenyuk and Yulia Tymoshenko are able to stay in power is this right wing mentality that is such fertile ground for Nazis. They come in pretending to be nationalists but really, they are just plain rotten like normal politicians. Then you have the same problem with the head choppers in Syria. Same kind of ideology being used again by the empire. They always seem to find a way to manipulate their enemies into fighting each others.
So, of course this is a trap that Russia and everyone in general must not fall into. I just dont see why the government uses this opportunity to go after those few privileges honest citizens have left. Even in the west they try to silence us and control the internet. I resent that.
It is getting annoying when every single westerner feels obliged to tell every single Russian, who he/she gets a chance to interact with, about how ridiculous and uncivilized Russian way of life is.
You said: first gays and lesbians, and now porn lovers get attacked also?
Do you even hear yourself? I don’t really blame that Russian guy for saying that he did not care what those (bad word) Americans think on a subject they obviously no knowledge about.
And then you get upset and go around complaining about those bloody Russians and their hatred towards minorities (who are obviously being attacked supposedly on daily basis in Russia) and how it divides us all.
When Russia adapts a law that prohibits soliciting of homosexuality among minors it is attacking gays and lesbians.
When Russia blocks a porn website – its attacking porn lovers.
They just blocked access to a porn site, for god’s sake, they haven’t beaten up a single porn lover. The reason was to simply restrict access to porn for kids. Grownups will get a VPN to continue jerking off anyways.
No individual is prohibited to become a gay or a lesbian in Russia, or have sex or live with each other – no one cares what you do with your own body. It is only illegal to advertise homosexuality among kids as a way of life that is so cool that you’ve got to try it and the sooner the better. If an individual is homosexual by nature – his body will tell him/her. And nobody will forbid him to go to his gay/lesbian club. They can have as many partners as they can handle or do whatever they want as long as they do not try to tempt kids with their version of sexual fun.
Kids are very curious by nature. They put lot of bad stuff in their mouth just out of curiosity. Russians simply want to make sure that when their kids put something inside their bodies they do it with full knowledge of the consequences.
I appreciate the clarification about the vpn number. I realize that I am just an ignorant westerner. I come on this site trying to work on the ignorant aspect of my personality. Sadly I cannot help being a westerner.
“… but since the new system makes it possible to for every citizen to monitor every single polling station live, they were rapidly caught and dealt with.”
This is fascinating! Can you tell me more? When did the new system go into effect?
In 2012, on the initiative of Putin.
they had video cameras pretty much everywhere, streaming live on the Internet. At least that was the case during the Presidential elections. this time around I know that they had cameras, but I am not sure how many since I also recall that the cameras were then supposed to be given to schools. but since Russia is becoming IT-heavy, am I pretty sure that most of the polling stations had videorecordings. HTH.
UPDATE: I got a confirmation. Not only were there live streaming cameras in all polling stations, but the stream was also recorded in case there is a complaint. In other words, total recorded transparency.
Great article on the Russian elections. There really wasn’t enough coverage, but a quiet uneventful election is a good thing in a functioning democracy. It means stuff is getting done, and nothing is so critically mishandled as to create social unrest.
It was also a triumph for representative democracy. An accurate representation of popular views and whose views are really popular is in the Duma and they can hash it out in debate, discussion, and deal-making.
Representative democracy is not direct democracy; there will always be an element of ‘rubber stamp’ to a representative body insofar as the majority will expect to get its way most of the time and certain policy directions have a momentum of their own not easily changed.
Russia’s proportional representative system is far superior to the simple plurality used by the leading A-Z powers, the U.S., and U.K. and likely responsible for the clarity and strength of Putin’s administration.
When commenting on Assad’s rule, Putin said Assad should have seen change coming and accommodated it, rather than be caught by surprise and resistant to change. The political paralysis of some E.U. nations is in no small part due to the divorce and polarization of the elites against the wishes of their own peoples and misrepresentations of the issues.
The confusion of U.S. foreign and domestic policy illustrates the dangers of not only a divorce of the rulers from the electorate, but an inability for the electorate or the rulers to know what’s going on for real in the polity. Everyone seems to think they have more political validity than they perhaps deserve because of simple plurality. Contenders overestimate their legitimacy and minorities know they are being disenfranchised because of ‘the system’, not necessarily any deficiency of reason or cause on their part.
Far easier for leaders to know where they stand and form a consensus based on more or less honest positions and the facts rather than through extremes of subterfuge.
Responding to your comment attributed to putin saying Assad should haven seen change coming
How do you recognise legitimate calls for change from non legitimate
“Change” could be maidan style
If it is legitimate what should the response be?
These elections may have being boring – but are they a sign of Russians circling the wagons to protect the state?
– the govt is not doing well medvedev is not doing well
-the govt policies are not working for the people
-change is needed – will The president settle for the status quo or pursue change that actually eases the conditions of the people?
Legitimate – Serving the people while advancing good governance. Perception isn’t everything, but close to it. Being politically socially astute is essential.
Illegitimate – Screwing the people while advancing government power. Most people default to this assumption about government but poor governance enhances the perception by being socially tone deaf.
Its a question of who better addresses root causes for social unrest first, opportunistic foreign interventionists or genuine domestic leadership.
Maidan was fueled by legitimate sentiment against extreme corruption. Pre-Maidan Ukraine was not paradise of good governance. Problems that at first that could have been solved politically without violent revolution, were exacerbated beyond control.
Yanukovych tried to play business as usual. Despite leaks detailing plans for coup, the Ukrainian people were not responsive; they were more concerned about unaddressed corruption and insensitive to the dangers of foreign intervention.
The one good decision Yanukovych made, spurning the EU for Russia, was completely irrelevant to the Ukrainian people as it doesn’t matter to them whose foreign dime is wasted on corruption. Plus, it dashed the hopes of others’ wishful thinking for magical EU prosperity while defying Western designs on the Ukraine.
Assad screwed up big time when he embraced neoliberal reforms, closing government enterprises at a time when there was a mass exodus from the countryside due to the Syrian drought. It was a problem throughout the Middle East.
Assad did so for no other reason than to consolidate his regime by allowing regime cronies to benefit most from privatization.
Ignoring the biased socialist hatred for Assad, it was simply a bad move to stick it to the common people at a time when so many were in a bad way. The invisible hand of the market does not magically ‘modernize’ an economy via crony capitalism. Assad should have backed off neoliberalism and restored the Baathist social contract as soon as his intel network detected the rise of extremist Islam, based on the Gaddafi example before resentment and apathy towards his government went viral.
In more democratic countries, few rulers remain popular for more than a decade. Dictators for life are always at a populist disadvantage. Gaddafi surrendered to crony capitalism as well, and although he does not seem to have rolled back Libya’s the social safety net, it had become taken for granted. Gaddafi allowed favoured access to Western neoliberals who fomented revolt harnessing natural forces towards change for the worst possible outcome.
Unlike Western neoliberal countries, the Ukraine and ME authoritarians aren’t operating in an intervention-free environment. One could say perhaps the Arab Spring was inevitable and things like food prices were not to blame, but its an awkward argument.
Underemployed farm workers, for example, need a reduction in food prices, not ‘price stability’ and rolling back government employment while selling those enterprises to cronies who visibly benefit from corruption is not going to sit well with the newly unemployed.
Stability is not enough. Poor leadership decisions reliant on coercive force to answer dissent and empty last-minute concessions signal weakness rather than prescience.
The Russians are circling the wagons to protect against U.S./NATO aggression. The U.S./NATO has solved any legitimacy problems Putin might have by being a very real existential threat. Anything that doesn’t work is a mark against Medvedev and the Atlantic integrationists associated with him, and the only change perceived needed is getting rid of the pro-westerners for good.
At once explained are performance shortfalls while removed is the legitimacy of the otherwise powerful pro-western Atlanticist alternative; in fact they need Putin to protect them from well-deserved (but not necessarily democratic) pitchforks.
Contrast the Russian elections with Germany’s or the U.S., and its clear who’s got the democratic mojo. Its not just that Russian elections were quiet – its that there’s nothing to contest when the main opposition is composed of transparently obvious illegitimate losers.
I saw a report in the largest local newspaper (Helsingin sanomat) that prisons and mental hospitals had unusually large voter participation and it implied that these people voted for the United Russia. I was under the impression that prisoners were not allowed to vote in Russia and OSCE preliminary report also stated that based on court orders people with diagnoses of mental illnesses can be barred from voting as well. Does anyone have more info on this issue?
The same newspaper was quite bluntly calling the whole elections fraudulent but at least most other claims were based on exaggerating real issues in the election, giving the worst possible spin to the OSCE report or implying that videos showing questionable practices were the norm not exception. The newspaper in question is a major influence on the local opinions and general public regards it as trustworthy and rigorous in its journalistic practices.
I’d be interested to know if there were really instances of prisoners or mental ward patients voting in unusual ways as completely fabricating issues to make Russia look bad would be a new low in this year’s coverage.
Unfortunately the state of media in this country is so poor that I’m inclined to believe they put their hatred of Russians above even lip service to facts.
There would have to be “huge” numbers of prisoners and mental patients voting to affect the 54% of total vote UR got in the election. I suspect like all the Western MSM they would never accept that any election in Russia was “legit” unless PARNAS won it.
1. Does Helsingin Sanomat provide any evidence of their claims?
Helsingin Sanomat calls election fraudulent, meanwhile Finland uncritically accepted a fascist putsch in Ukraine. Go figure.
This Parliamentary election is Russia was the most transparent and opened in history.
Helsingin Sanomat, a tabloid you refer to, is owned by a Sanoma company (Finland).
Sanoma has been one of the major player on the Russophobic information market since the USSR. In the 90s and until recently Sonoma owned in Russia: Vedomosti, The Moscow Times, The St. Petersburg Times. Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Harvard Business Review Russia, Men’s Health, National Geographic Russia, Robb Report Russia, Popular Mechanics Russia.
After an anti-government unconstitutional coup in Ukraine, Russia adopted a foreign media ownership law, banning the foreign companies to own more than 20% of media outlet.
Sanoma was forced to lose its grip on the Russian Media market. hehehe…
2. I don’t understand the thrust of their accusations.
Does Helsingin Sanomat imply that disabled and ill people shouldn’t have a constitutional right to vote?
According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) people who grief over the loss of their loved ones, jobs and even pets are considered to be mentally ill along with people who are afraid of spiders. According to DSM if you have a brain and you are conscious, you are mentally ill.
What next? Will Helsingin Sanomats demand to take constitutional rights from mentally ill people, they should start with Finland.
Be consistent. Show us an example. Take away all the constitutional rights and freedom from people living in Finland, because all Finns are Russophobic. Any phobia is a mental illness. Ergo, all Finns are mentally ill and they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
If I were a Finn, I would be terrified reading Helsingin Sanomat. But, as a Russian I don’t waste my time on acute Russophobic nutjobs. If you Finns decide to insult us Russians, it’s your choice. Don’t get upset, however, if you get paid back with the same currency.
1. No and the article in question does not even cite sources. In the video related to the article (which I could not watch since I block all ads there) one of the people discussing is the former Moscow correspondent who in his own ‘analysis’ said Russia is moving towards one party system. In another article they widely cite GOLOS as an expert authority. I assume their source for this claim is something similar.
Definitely which is why I am writing a reply to HS pointing out how unfair their coverage is. Not sure if they’ll publish it. I am doing fact checking now but I couldn’t find anything on irregularities in prison/mental hospital voting outside HS.
And I am happy to hear you got rid of Sanoma in Russia. Hopefully the same will happen in Finland.
2. To be completely honest I don’t understand their point either. Based on the context however I assume the jab at prisoners voting has two possible meanings: 1) implying ER stole the votes and those people had no say in who got their vote or 2) implying that people voting for ER are ‘worse’ than the enlightened people writing the article.
Given HS often openly demands removal of civil rights of people in Finland I would not be too surprised they are doing just that for people in Russia too.
A lot of people are. Unfortunately we do not have many choices when it comes to local news. I am not sure if we deserve any better though. This summer some leading academics of Finland on geopolitical issues simply pointed out the quantity (small units) and quality (mostly defensive or stationary) of the Russian troops nearby Finland and they were labeled as ‘traitors’ in the popular discourse.
I am actually surprised how positive Russians and Russian government generally are about Finland and Finns.
@Uncle Bob 1
That is a good point. Mind if I use it in the response I am writing?
It might not be Putin’s party, but he stood next to Medvedev after the elections finished, where both men spoke to the public.
Putin is always associated with United Russia.
Anyone here who knows what happened to the Gargantuan Super-Upheaval courtesy of the Cлабоумные помойки (a.k.a. Партия народной свободы) ? Weren’t they supposed to be staging the “bloodiest revolution ln Russia’s history” or something? Thus far, Pussy Riot look immensely impressive by comparison.
For Russia to survive, it would have to return to some form of Soviet economic policies. Self sufficiency, state intervention, re-nationalisation of the stolen soviet industry, and a complete rejection of neoliberal globalisation and its institutions.
The destruction of the soviet system was planned by some members of the soviet elite who managed to become multimillionaires and oligarchs with the introduction of the rogue capitalism of the 1990s. A global superpower and a major economic force (with an alternative economic/social system) collapsed and social disintegration ruined the nations across eastern Europe. The social and geopolitical implications were disastrous not only for the russian state and people but also for many other nations across the globe.
But a return to the glory days of USSR seems to be unlikely. Putin’s role is to bring into equilibrium the various forces of the Russian elites (nationalists, liberals, etc).
…and herein lies the greatest vulnerability of present Russia even more of a danger, than the external threats.
Russia will stand behind Putin, it will not stand united behind anyone else I know of.
Tell me Saker, have You came across any details about the murder of Putin’s chaffeour?
The details of that hit would actually give me greater understanding about the nature of the threat
Prost Putin, long life to you, and life eternal to Mother Russia.
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Hehe, oh that evil Putin, hehe.
The election was, quite frankly, meaningless.
Even before the election started, the West and much of the Russian elite proclaimed non-system liberals such as Yavlinsky and Kasyanov to have been the true winners, defrauded by evil Putin. Then, the turnout (49%) was deemed “too low” for the election to be valid, no matter that it was nearly twice that of the last US midterm Congressional election. Then there was petty-ante fraud in a few precincts, which automatically “invalidated” the whole election. And so on.
Now, large sections of the Russian elites and media are once again demanding that
Putin “accept” the message of “low” election turnout, step down, and hold early elections next year so that Dimitry Medvedev or Alexei Kudrin can become president and begin surrendering Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the Crimea, the Kuriles, state assets, etc. While this is clearly not what the Russian people want, snap presidential elections will allow the Russian elite to get what THEY want. The fix is in: well-connected Russian insiders are already quoted in the Ukrainian press effectively planning the surrender of the Crimea while bragging how the Russian National Guard — headed by former Yeltsin bodyguard Viktor Zolotov — will crush Russians who protest that (or anything else.) http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-russian-security-force-will-answer-to-vladimir-putin-1461541590
Why even have elections?