What does Putin fight for? Legitimacy and capacity of governance in the old style

Posted by Marek Siwiec MEP on 23/02/12
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From a distance this campaign looks like in any other country. Just like in case of all previous elections until 2000 in Russia itself. Ten days before the election (March 4) the main candidate is travelling around the country, giving speeches during well-prepared mass rallies, saying a lot about the needs of visited regions and making promises. If he wins, there will be stability and prosperity, the investment climate will improve, the social protection of citizens will strengthen. Ironically, the promises that used to make sense several years ago, today intensify the feeling of stagnation and hopelessness.

It is known who is supposed to win. The purpose of the fight is for the authority not to be accused of forgery, and for the candidate to win in the first round. The polls look good. So why then is the Kremlin upset?

Analysts close to power are examining Muscovites’ anger after the fraudulent parliamentary elections. Sakharov Square and tens of thousands of protesters are trying to compare themselves to the Maydan in Kiev from 8 years ago. But such an analogy is weak. Back there people fought for their candidate. Moscow does not see its man on the electoral list. It rejects everyone – the disgraced (Zhirinovsky, Zyuganov), and the painted (Mironov, Prokhorov). The anger drives people against Putin, but this anger will not bring him down. In can only make him weaker.

Let’s ask the question again – if Putin has already won, what is the real fight about? The answer is sad and dramatic. At stake is the legitimacy of the President and, consequently, his ability to govern for another 6 years in the old style, which is namely the maintenance of privileged people, the sham reforms and repression that the world has more or less accepted.

Putin looks in this spectacle quite pathetic. Before he stood for elections in order to stabilise the country, defeat the Chechens and fight the oligarchs. Today he plays with himself on his own ground. People can see it.

From here it is closer to a real change.

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Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe rss

Marek Siwiec, Polish Member of the European Parliament, writes about European Neighbourhood Policy, defence policy, Polish Presidency of the EU Council, Polish politics and other topics related to European and international affairs. more.

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