10 things about what the Kremlin is calling an “election”

Soldiers of the National Guard of Russia (aka Russian Guard), a 500,000-strong internal security structure subordinated to Putin personally

Soldiers of the National Guard of Russia (aka Russian Guard), a 500,000-strong internal security structure subordinated to Putin personally 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Aleksey Shaburov, a Yekaterinburg commentator, says that people are making a mistake treating the March 2018 voting as if it were a real election. It isn’t, and he offers ten things to remember because that is the reality in Russia today. They are:

1. The presidential elections are not about deciding the question of power. That question has already been decided and Vladimir Putin will remain in office at least another six years. But that doesn’t mean the voting won’t have other consequences including the redistribution of posts depending on how well officials deliver the percentages the Kremlin wants.

2. Any strategy that is directed at affecting the outcome of the vote is “senseless and condemned to defeat.” For example, “a boycott will lower the rate of participation but raise the percentage of the victor.” In other words, “the authorities will be able to come out the winner from any ‘protest’ strategy.” No one except the powers that be has “any electoral resources.”

3. The other reasons people give for taking part – raising issues or ensuring that the polls are honest – are to be respected but will have no influence on the distribution of power or ultimately affect the views of many other Russians.

4. Many think that voting for an “opposition” candidate will “send a signal” to the authorities and “force it to change its policies.” Any signal that might be sent has been sent in demonstrations since 2011 and the regime hasn’t changed its policies as a result.

5. The powers that be are prepared to accept “only one kind of signal: the signals about the complete support for itself. All other signals will be viewed as hostile and spark aggression in response.

6. “The only political action which the authorities are afraid of are street protests,” like those currently taking place in Iran.

7. “The only politician with whom the authorities now connect a danger of street protests is Alexei Navalny.” They fear he will organize street protests after the voting.

8. All other politicians who have been given permission to run have had to commit in public to not planning any “street methods of struggle.”

9. “The striving not to allow protests explains other actions of the powers in the pre-election period,” including the unprecedented raids on Navalny’s campaign operation.

10. “The main message” the authorities want all Russians to receive is this: “’It is better to vote than to protest.” And they will use every possible channel “official and unofficial” to deliver it.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • zorbatheturk

    Putin has pre-won the election. Trump will call soon to congratulate him.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    As matters stand, Putin or any other rodent of his ilk will never be removed from office via a free and fair electoral process since their power has always been based upon the tenets of dictatorial rule. Therefore, there are only two ways to remove this type of scum, including: 1) A coup d’etat and/or 2) A revolution. However, to carry out these options are based primarily on strong will and intestinal fortitude which has almost always been lacking with most of the Russian electorate.

  • veth

    Russian Embassy in U.S. says Washington trying to interfere in presidential campaign in Russia 16:00, 10 January 2018

    The Russian Embassy in the United States has claimed that Washington is trying to interfere in the presidential election campaign in Russia.

    REUTERS “Accusations from officials in Washington that the decisions to deny registration to the Russian presidential candidates were politically motivated are absolutely groundless and politicized. Suspicions of the upcoming elections being undemocratic are invalid. It should be noted that all of that coincided with another wave of untrue allegations about Russia’s interference into electoral processes in other countries,” according to the Embassy’s statement. “In this regard we wish to calm the ‘hot heads’ in America: demands to allow someone’s participation in the Russian elections and other similar hypocritical attempts to put pressure on the Russian authorities are unacceptable and are deemed as direct interference in our country’s internal affairs.” Read also Russia destabilizing West through invasions, killings, elex meddling attempts: UK Foreign Secretary “We hope that the U.S. authorities shall not create obstacles in the way of Russian citizens, residing and temporarily staying in the USA, when they exercise their voting rights. The information about the location of the voting stations set up by the Russian diplomatic and consular missions will be provided to the U.S. authorities in the proper manner,” the statement says. It is reported that for the purpose of conducting the voting process voting stations will be set up in the facilities of the Russian foreign missions – at the Embassy in Washington, D.C., Consulates General in Houston, New York, and Seattle. Early polling is also planned to take place in Albany, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.