They barred any party from the elections that had at least some right to call itself an opposition party, got rid of the “Against all” option on the ballot, and made the very meaning of the word “elections” meaningless. Even so, despite a campaign for the Swindlers and Thieves Party that left no stone unturned, a plethora of government resources at their finger tips, ballot stuffing and bosses demanding their employees bring their absentee ballots in the face of possible termination if they don’t, they weren’t able to garner even 50% of the vote.
The age-old “well-the-people-are-still-for-the-swindlers-and-thieves-party” copout from this point forward can not longer be.
The people are the ones who took to Chistiye Prudi in Moscow on 5 December. They are the ones that the special police forces apprehended. As for the bums, boors and Nashi youth group hooligans brought in on buses to make the Swindlers and Thieves Party’s 27% exit-poll numbers magically turn into a little over 50%, they are not the people. They are nothing more than sheep who are selling theirs and our freedom to their fudge-packer fuhrers for chocolate.
That this could happen became clear back when the hysteria began: when the authorities began to persecute GOLOS (a voter-rights organisation), Gazeta.ru (an online newspaper), and when the website of Echo of Moscow was taken down by hackers. In fact, it became obvious even before all that, back when Vladimir Putin was heckled and booed by fans at Olympic Stadium while in the ring congratulating Fyodor Emelyanenko after his win over American Jeff Morrison. After his public humiliation, Putin went AWOL from the public eye, so instead of being subjected to the public’s scorn in St Petersburg at a concert against drugs, he sent Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, but that didn’t deter the crowd from jeering Kozak.
Let’s face the facts: one of the most important idiosyncrasies has worked against this sovereign kleptocracy: for a regime with such a level of control, it is demonstrating an insufficient level of violence.
The regime is showing a sufficient level of violence only in the Caucuses, where the Swindlers and Thieves Party won 99% of the vote. As lawyer and blogger Alexei Navalny pointed out, the true winner of these elections is “Putin, the president of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, but not Russia”.
The level of violence will unlikely rise in the rest of Russia, since that would threaten the assets of the sovereign kleptocracy in western countries. If the state machine doesn’t use violence, then at a certain point it begins to work against itself. The state administration demands that something indecent is done in a boorish manner, and there is no reward for doing so, but rather no punishment for not doing so.
The very same situation took place in Russia that took place in South Ossetia a few weeks ago. There are things that can be hammered home into the people’s heads, and some that cannot.
For example, the people have it drilled into their heads that the West is conspiring against Great Russia, that we put those blasted Georgians in their place and that the dollar is soon to collapse. The people, however, cannot be made to think that Russia has roads being built in it, that bureaucrats don’t run people over on the streets, that the police catch criminals, and, most of all, that all of this – the unmitigated corruption, the complete decay of the ruling class, the dissolution of the state in the modern sense of the word, in other words as a certain structure that defends people’s rights and liberties, and the displacement of the state by greasy body tissue and cancerous tumours – has not yet taken on the form of an exponential avalanche.
One of the chief differences between kleptocracy and totalitarianism is that under the latter each part of the system works for the man in charge, while under the former each part of the system works for itself.
99% of the people who voted against the Swindlers and Thieves Party have never read Navalny’s blog, never heard of the horrifying car crash on Leninsky Prospekt that saw a Lukoil executive kill two innocent women after intentionally veering onto the oncoming lane of traffic to circumvent congestion and ramming into their car head on; nor have they ever heard of Putin’s tax-payer-funded mansion on the Black Sea coastal town of Gelendzhik. All that happened was that each one of them had their own personal experience similar to that of Leninsky Prospekt: a relative would be run over and the case would never be broken; land would be taken out from under their feet and those guilty would never be found.
Oh yes, the majority in the Duma consists of parties loyal to the ruling regime, but it’s not the idea or person they are loyal to, but rather the winner, and that’s just the very point. How long do you think Vladimir Zhirinovsky is going to be loyal to the Kremlin? As long as loyalty brings more favour than a revolt.
The system is devouring itself, and at a terrifyingly fast rate. It won’t survive the next elections.