Russia’s elections: Putin gets over 60%

The Kassandra Project

 

Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” won the elections in Russia, with over 60% of consensus. The problem is that liberal and democratic parties do not exceed the barrage of 7%: this means that Putin and his party become the absolute masters of the nation.

GARRY KASPAROV, a russian opposition politician said ‘Russia Is Not a Democracy‘ and denunce his corruption in the Putin administration and elections.
He said that elections “will force the secretive Putin to reveal his strategy in the nail-biting political game gripping the country as Putin’s time in the Kremlin runs out” declaring “russian election a farce”.
Kasparov: “I think that Putin’s popularity is virtual in many respects. He certainly has legitimacy. He was elected, even though the elections were manipulated. But this legitimacy will end with the presidential election in March 2008. The current regime is beneficial to barely 15 percent of the population. Many among the remaining 85 percent — 120 million people — are dissatisfied“.

From Wikipedia:

“Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) on October 7, 1952… Putin graduated from the International Branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975 and was recruited into the KGB. At the University he also became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and has never formally resigned from it.

He worked in the Leningrad and Leningrad region Directorate of the KGB, where he became acquainted with Sergei Ivanov.

In 1976 he completed KGB retraining courses. In 1978 he entered other foreign intelligence in Moscow. After completing the training he served in the First Department of the Leningrad Directorate (foreign intelligence) until 1983. In 1983-1984 he studied at the KGB High School in Moscow. In 1984 Putin was promoted to Major.

From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany, in what he regards as a minor position. Following the collapse of the East German regime, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov. In his new position, Putin grew reacquainted with Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad. Sobchak served as an Assistant Professor during Putin’s university years and was one of Putin’s lecturers. Putin formally resigned from the state security services on August 20, 1991, during the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev…”

“His rise to Russia’s highest office ended up being even more rapid: on December 31, 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the constitution, Putin became (acting) President of the Russian Federation. While his opponents were preparing for an election later that year in June, Yeltsin’s resignation resulted in the elections being held within three months, in March. This put all of his opponents at a disadvantage, giving him the element of surprise and an eventual victory. Presidential elections were held on March 26, 2000; Putin won in the first round.

Vladimir Putin was inaugurated president on May 7, 2000. Having announced his intention to consolidate power in the country into a strict vertical, in May 2000 he issued a decree dividing 89 federal subjects of Russia between 7 federal districts overseen by representatives of him in order to facilitate federal administration. In July 2000, according to a law proposed by him and approved by the Russian parliament, Putin also gained the right to dismiss heads of the federal subjects.

In December 2000 Putin sanctioned the change of the National Anthem of Russia to restore (with a minor modification) the music of the pre-1991 Soviet anthem, but with new words.

On February 12 2001, Putin signed a federal law on guarantees for former presidents and their families (See Vladimir Putin legislation and program). In 1999 Yeltsin and his family were under scrutiny for charges related to money-laundering by the Russian and Swiss authorities.”

On March 14, 2004, Putin was re-elected to the presidency for a second term, earning 71 percent of the vote. During the term, Putin has been widely criticized in the West for what many observers consider a wide-scale crackdown on media freedoms. At the same time, according to 2005 research by VCIOM, the share of Russians approving censorship on TV has grown in a year from 63% to 82%; sociologists believe that Russians are not voting in favor of press freedom suppression, but rather for expulsion of ethically doubtful material (such as scenes of violence and sex).

On September 13, 2004, following the Beslan school hostage crisis, Putin suggested the creation of a Public Chamber of Russia and launched an initiative to replace the direct election of the governors and presidents of Federal subjects of Russia with a system whereby they would be proposed by the President and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures.

He also initiated the merger of a number of federal subjects of Russia into larger entities.

A significant amount of Putin’s second term has been focusing on domestic issues. According to various Russian and western media reports, Putin is extremely concerned about the ongoing demographic problems, such as the death rate being higher than the birth rate, cyclical poverty, and housing concerns within the Russian Federation. In 2005, four “national projects” were launched in the fields of health care, education, housing and agriculture. In his May 2006 annual speech, Putin proposed increasing maternity benefits and prenatal care for women. Putin has also been quite strident about the need to reform the judiciary. He considers the present federal judiciary as “Sovietesque” and prefers a judiciary that interprets and implements the code to the current situation, where many of the judges hand down the same verdicts as they would have under the old Soviet judiciary structure. In 2005, responsibility for federal prisons was transferred from the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Justice.

One of the most controversial aspects of Putin’s second term was the prosecution of one of Russia’s richest men, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, President of Yukos oil company, for fraud and tax evasion. While much of the international press saw this as a reaction against a man who was funding political opponents of the Kremlin, both liberal and communist, the Russian government has argued that Khodorkovsky was engaged in corrupting a large segment of the Duma to prevent changes in the tax code aimed at taxing windfall profits and closing offshore tax evasion vehicles. Many of the initial privatizations, including that of Yukos, are widely believed to have been fraudulent (Yukos, valued at some $30bn in 2004, had been privatized for $110 million), and like other oligarchic groups, the Yukos-Menatep name has been frequently tarred with accusations of links to criminal organizations.

In recent years, the political philosophy of Putin’s administration has been described as “sovereign democracy”. The political term recently gained wide acceptance within Russia itself and unified various political elites around it. According to its supporters, Presidential policies must above all be supported by a popular majority in Russia itself and not be determined from outside the country; such popular support constitutes the founding principle of a democratic society.

In a 2007 interview with newspaper journalists from G8 countries Putin spoke out in favor of a longer presidential term in Russia, saying “a term of five, six or seven years in office would be entirely acceptable”. According to the constitution of Russia, the President is elected for a term of four years.

On September 12, 2007, Russian news agencies reported that Putin dissolved the government upon the request of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Fradkov commented that it was to give the President a “free hand” to make decisions in the run-up to the parliamentary election. Viktor Zubkov was appointed the new prime minister.

If you want to read more about Putin, check this Wikipedia voice.

The question is: will it be the end of democracy in Russia? Are we seeing another Bush elections farce story?

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