What is being claimed by Russia’s political leadership as an honest and overwhelming victory masks clear manipulation, as well as challenges presented by opposition forces in the country. And yet the flagrant rigging of results is more likely to lead to further opposition despondency than mass protests.
Although elections took place at local, regional, and national levels in Russia, it was elections to the State Duma – the lower chamber of the national parliament – which were the main event as the first national-level elections since a marked decline in Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings following deeply unpopular pension reforms in 2018.… Seguir leyendo »
Leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was poisoned on Aug. 20, 2020. After recovering in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia this year and was imprisoned, after which the authorities launched an unprecedented crackdown on the political movement he has led since the late 2000s. Navalny faces more than two years in prison, and probably longer: Russian law enforcement opened new criminal cases against him and his team this month.
The crackdown may not seem surprising, as investigations by Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation have alleged extensive corruption among the political elite, including Russian president Vladimir Putin himself.
Since 2019, Navalny and his team have coordinated “Smart Voting,” a tactical voting project to mount electoral challenges to United Russia, the Kremlin-backed “party of power.”… Seguir leyendo »
With Putin’s current term as head of state due to run out in 2024, the question everybody has been asking is what he will do to remain in power. The Russian president’s recent speech, made in person in the State Duma during the second reading of his own constitutional reform bill, has been interpreted by many as a clear answer. Summaries such as “Putin forever” and “perpetual Putin” abound. But the reality is not so clear.
Putin has not committed to standing for re-election in 2024, never mind staying in power until 2036, when two additional six-year terms from 2024 would run out.… Seguir leyendo »