Russia's mock election

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

(Copenhagen, Denmark) Politiken

Central control of opinion instead of open debates about the future has been dominating the campaign or rather the absence of such (a campaign) ahead of the referendum for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.

The main peculiarity of the system is that it is a strengthening of the bureaucratic system and a weakening of the political parties in favor of the Kremlin club. The system must maintain the status quo that Putin has created where submission is the only way to influence. But such a system has limited potentials for modernization.

Putin wants a modernization but the open election campaign seems to be against his nature, although he certainly would have won it. The mock election stands in sharp contrast to Putin's wish to appear as a civilized European leader. He obviously wants to make Russia more western-minded but politically he has a cavernous lack of understanding for western democratic rules.

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