Try to count these procents. That's how many people did come to take part in the elect campaign-2011 in Rostov region. The Central Election Commission didn't excuse for such a desinformation, showed on TV during the night 4 dec
Did the Kremlin’s dwellers want the result to be predictable? That’s what they got. The main takeaway is not that the elections (despite there being no choice involved) in Russia took place, but that the results announced are illegitimate.
If the Central Election Commission announces the Swindlers and Thieves Party’s vote total to be around 40 to 45%, then a victorious “Wow” will be the public’s first reaction. If that number will be higher than 55%, then pretty much the same sound that Vladimir Putin heard at Olympic Stadium – a low and powerful hateful roar – will rumble across the country. Only at the beginning will they see 45% as a victory, because if 45% will be written in the official results, then the public will make the conclusion that it was actually 25%. In other words, the predictability in the election results is that the vote totals are not going to be legitimised by the people, no matter what numbers the Central Election Commission comes up with.
The authorities have themselves to blame. Never before has pressure so impudently been applied, unwanted candidates and observers so crassly wrung out to dry. Never have we seen bureaucrats behaving so illicitly and barefacedly, and the Central Election Commission exhibiting such partisan conduct. Therefore, whatever the result may be, it will be seen as fraud. The ruling party, in having been petrified by its falling rating and having tried to ring out every last advantage from the top to the bottom of its hierarchy, has, it seems, committed suicide.
Those governors and mayors who put in all their efforts to meet the benchmark for the ruling party’s percentage total of the vote and who know what they had to do to get this done, woke up on Monday morning realising that they now live in a whole new era. They realise the Swindlers and Thieves Party is a dumbbell that will drown them, just as it has already drowned itself. This is now a black hole capable of gobbling up any resource.
This same question, this something in the air, also faced Vladimir Putin, gearing up to take back the presidential thrown, on Monday morning. United Russia used to be that cast-iron pedestal that elevated Putin’s bronze bust. Now, this pedestal has morphed into a zinc, capsized bucket, and anything plunked down on top of it looks like garbage.
If we are, however, to look more carefully, then we’ll realise that United Russia’s loss is not about United Russia, but about him, Vladimir Putin. His resources used to be enough to drag this madhouse of political money grubber onto the political Olympus as the pedestal for his own bust. Now he no longer has those resources. United Russia’s loss is the discernable end of the line for him.
The second takeaway from these elections is that they revealed that Putin’s positions have weakened drastically, and that there is the prospect that the institutes of power that he built up on the sand of his own popularity will erode quickly. Sand is a pretty strange thing: it’s very strong when there’s a lot of it, but it’s nothing when there is little of it.
The fact is that Putin’s rating is dropping surprisingly fast. And what seemed to be a smooth transition back to being president just a month ago has now become covered in a web of doubt and uncertainty. For example, the Levada Centre ran a public poll asking: “Who would you vote for if the elections were to be held this coming Sunday?” Putin lost 11 points in November. The number of people willing to vote for him dropped from 42 to 31%. This whole mythology of Putin being the “national leader” is starting to break at the seams, and there are still four months to go until the presidential elections.
What’s happened to Putin’s rating? Why did announcing that he was going to switch places with Dmitry Medvedev, with whom they together just a month ago felt on top of the world and drank milk in white shirts in front of the television cameras – neither more nor less demigods among mortals – become the trigger of ubiquitous irritation?
The answer to me seems pretty simple. At the beginning of the last decade, Putin received an enormous mandate from the public and the elite. In countries where the public isn’t able to control the authorities, this system is called “delegated democracy”: the gist is that you run the country as you know how to, since we trust you. Things were going well in 2004 and 2008, and the public didn’t have a reason to take this mandate away. Consequently, as happens in delegated democracy, the public wasn’t interested in all the procedural issues: censorship of the media, unfair elections, election rigging, pressure on the opposition. There was this impression that the public was not interested in the very mandate that it had given Putin, that it had repudiated its rights to this mandate.
This, however, is where this story of tragic mutual misunderstanding began. At the same time that the public believed that it had given Putin the label of Tsar for running the country and wasn’t demanding it back because it didn’t have any particular reasons, Vladimir Putin was becoming all the more inclined to thinking that that this label belonged to him by right of his talents and merits. The public discovered in 2011 that it is far from confident that it wants to leave this label with Putin. It’s not that the public is vehemently against doing so, but that it isn’t sure. Putin was confident that this label is his, that it was given to him by merit and forever, and that’s that. But the more Putin insists on this, the more he looks to the public as a usurper of power, and the less he has the right to this label.
This, generally speaking, is what the spring of the fledgling political crisis in Russia looks like.