The president election in Russia courses strange and confound reactions of many people. There were plenty of articles in media asking questions like “should our president congratulate Putin with his reelection or no”, “was the election fair”, “how much Russian people support Mr. Putin, would he be reelected if there were no violations related to votes counting” and many others. There were so much discussions emerged during election period in the Europe that it clearly shows how badly people understands the essence of the event.
Let’s see :
Before the fall of USSR in 1991, Boris Yeltsin was elected as president. After 1996 he was reelected with some claims of the fraud. In August 1999 Putin had become MP. The same year few apartment bombings killed few hundreds of Russians. The Chechens were blamed for this act of terror. (There’s still no clear evidence of that, and no idea how the Chechen could benefit of that.) It appeared that in the face of such brutal event, Russia needs strong leader, preferably related to the Russian force structures. Guess who was the lucky man. By the pure accident of fortune this event have risen Putins popularity from the ground to the skies. So he became president in 2000 after Yeltsin resignation, by winning the elections. His opponents were Yevgeny Primakov and Yuri Luzhkov, both were the critics of Boris Yeltsin and even promised to prosecute Yeltsin’s family for corruption. And that is just the beginning of the great story.
Putin, the former agent of KGB, has become the only ruler of the vast nuclear state. There was huge economical crisis in that time and an opposition can create some trouble in the future. But luckily his previous job as KGB agent have trained him not to be afraid of such dangers. Step by step he has taken control of media, persecuted opposition and after 18 years of Putin’s presidency there’s no signs of weakness in his system. The West was trying to see the signs of democracy. It was, and still is useful for Putin to play his game as being elected president. There are some politicians who want to make their political stance as being friendly with Putin. It is more easily done when official Russian political system is not autocracy. As a leader of European, or partly European country with some signs of democracy and capitalism Mr. Putin has much more chances to make deals, for instance with such leaders as Merkel, Russian friends, now former presidents of France, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, to support Marine Le Pen, to share his nationalistic ideas with Orban, to keep strange loyalty of Austria, be friendly with Greece and so on.
But even more important is the use of imitative democracy is in the Russia itself. Putin as an autocrat and owner of his illegal billions and villas has no chance to survive in democratic country. The mimicking democracy helps suppress opposition more than it would be possible without democracy. Opposition in ‘democratic’ country, when ‘has’ possibility to take part in political life but faces shameful defeat in the election is pathetic. Opposition can run a march in Red Square, but what is use of that, when every Russian knows that no normie supports them, that these strange characters are constantly involved in some strange failures, deserves no confidence. This is all what can be known from Russian media about opposition. There’s no such thing as pursuing of opposition in Russia, but there’s constant and inevitable failure of the opposition. Corruption of media is much more important, than corruption of counting votes. There’s no way for you to be elected if you do not exist in media, and Kremlin controlled media doesn’t want you to exist.
Fake democracy is a Putin’s alibi both abroad and at home. Congratulation on victory of Russian president election is something like wishing happy Easter. Both have some controversy as the real events, both can be done periodically and both makes some people happy.