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Home / World / The Russian presses the reset button for Putin, but questions about the legitimacy of his long-term rule still exist

The Russian presses the reset button for Putin, but questions about the legitimacy of his long-term rule still exist

At first glance, everything seems to be planning for the Kremlin. As early as March, the Russian parliament member of the ruling United Russia Party, Valentina Tereshkova, requested a constitutional amendment at a dramatic parliamentary meeting to allow Putin to serve his current term until 2024 After the election, run for president again.

This is a move full of symbols of patriotism: Tereshkova was a former astronaut and the first woman to fly in space. It was inextricably linked to the era of Soviet achievement.

Putin appeared in the Parliament building only an hour and a half later to approve the proposal, which was then passed by the House of Representatives and the country’s Constitutional Court. However, the plan to hold a constitutional amendment on April 22 with or without a referendum was put on hold. The coronavirus pandemic is now undergoing rescheduled voting and has been hit quickly by turnout.

However, not only is the semester limit reset, there are more risks. The vote has also become a referendum around Putin̵

7;s establishment of the system in the past two decades. As many Russian observers have pointed out, Putin’s “vertical power” system made him the ultimate arbiter of the elite class, and literally, their fate is related to his power.

Russia in 2020 is not a dictatorship in the classic sense: Putin relies on regular elections as a means of referendum to legitimize his rule. To be sure, Russia’s political system lacks checks and balances: parliament is crowded with so-called “pocket” (ie powerless) opposition parties of loyalists and Russians. The President has great freedom to hire and dismiss regional leaders; the courts obey executive power.

But Putin must obey the law: after all, he did leave Dmitry Medvedev’s office and continue to rule behind the scenes during four years of intergovernmental rule, and the new president changed the constitution.

Today’s approach is instructive: Medvedev proposed a series of constitutional reforms, increasing the presidency from four to six years, and allowing Putin to run again. However, after the 2011 parliamentary elections, widespread allegations of vote fraud led to a series of democratic protests that worried the Kremlin.

Will Wednesday’s referendum bring the same challenges to Putin, or will there be a new wave of street protests? This is difficult to predict, but the country’s small and well-rounded opposition members have asked the following questions: Tampering and Since last week, violations in the referendum for early voting have been opened. This is a measure taken by election officials as a preventive measure against coronavirus in society.
Voted through a mobile ballot box in Moscow on Monday.

Some Russians started to use social media to show their preferences and posted NYET (No) on their profiles. Residents of Moscow and other big cities posted anti-Putin stickers next to pro-correction posters. Others noticed a strange fact: a copy of the constitution was recently sold in a bookstore, which already contains amendments, and it has been widely commented on social media. This suggests to many Russians that the problem has been solved.

On Monday, the state-run polling agency VTsIOM announced the early results of the withdrawal vote, suggesting that Putin will be approved by the amendment: Based on these results, about 76% of respondents from 800 polling stations in Russia said they supported the constitutional change.

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Putin’s popularity during the coronavirus took a hit, but his approval rating remains high. The constitutional amendments include provisions-for example, to include marriage only in the language between men and women-which will attract some conservative voters.

There is no indication that the results will not satisfy the Kremlin, but the state agency has been working overtime to increase voter turnout to increase the legitimacy of controversial changes. The large-scale voting campaign launched by the authorities at all levels has a wide range of appeals: TV commercials are expected to bring huge social benefits, happy families on billboards vote in favor of “yes”, and recipes and crosswords are posted on the brochure. The brochure is posted at the entrance of the house. However, the official advertising campaign of the referendum did not emphasize that the constitution can consolidate Putin’s rule until he is 84 years old, and save him from prosecution when he retires.

The same goes for Putin’s own messaging. In a short video released on Tuesday, Putin appeared in front of the Soviet soldier’s new monument and urged the Russians to vote for “stability, security and prosperity”, he said that the new constitution means having good health care, education and “effective Future”. To the public. “He did not mention resetting the term limits.

Putin addressed the country on the eve of the polling day.

Independent voting supervisors also questioned the widespread reporting of voting violations. Even before the voting began last week, independent media and non-governmental organizations posted many screenshots and audio messages, suggesting that employers of large companies and state-funded organizations took a mandatory vote.

“In the past few days, we have also seen a large number of votes filled, so it feels like at a certain stage, [the organizers] “The administrative resources for mobilizing controlled voters have been exhausted, they may vote slightly differently than expected, and they have adopted good old manipulations,” non-independent co-host Stanislav Andreychuk government organization Golos told CNN .

According to Andreychuk, the referendum is regulated less than the elections his organization previously supervised: the voting booths set up on park benches violate the confidentiality of the vote and usually do not implement the release of votes Station voting restrictions and unregulated campaigns-relying on promising apartment lotteries to attract voters to the station-pollute voters’ freedom to exercise their right to vote.

An outdoor polling station in Saint Petersburg.

When questioned about rumored evidence of election violations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov questioned reports shared by local media about setting up polling stations in car trunks or park benches.

He answered the question during a conference call with reporters: “There is a lot of interest in voting, but it is too early to draw conclusions, and so on, it has just begun.”

Putin has strongly hinted that he will run, and remarks about resignation are unnecessary. Putin said in an interview broadcast on national television on the eve of the vote that if voters approve the constitutional amendment, Putin will “not rule out” re-election.

“in case This one [constitutional change] This will not happen for two years-I know from my own experience-instead of doing normal, stable work under various levels of power, everyone will start to look for possible successors,” he said. Work Instead of looking for a successor.”

Nevertheless, the referendum has the opportunity to cast a shadow over Putin’s potential re-election-in theory, his next term will be two terms.

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