Free Press Journal

What Putin’s re-election entails

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AFP PHOTO / Sputnik / Michael KLIMENYEV

With American President Donald Trump dragging the global fraternity closer to disaster and flaring of insidious war mongering, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presence on the international scenario has become imperative. The way he handled the Syrian crisis and Middle East worries makes him appear as perhaps the only individual available on the global format on which the global fraternity could rely for easing nervousness.

On 6 December 2017, President Vladimir Putin announced that he will seek re-election for a second consecutive term and the fourth term overall. With his approval, ratings topping 80 percent, Putin is certain to win a quick victory in the March 18 vote. The President of Russia is directly elected for a term of six years, since being extended from four years in 2008 during Dmitry Medvedev’s administration. Putin made the announcement at a meeting with workers of the GAZ factory in Nizny Novgorod. Several hours earlier, he was asked about his intentions in Moscow and signaled that he would run, but stopped short of declaring his bid.

Putin has been in power in Russia since 2000. He served two presidential terms in 2000-2008, then shifted into the prime minister’s seat because of term limits. Medvedev had the presidential term extended to six years and then stepped down to let Putin reclaim presidency in 2012. Putin will have spent 24 years as Russian leader by the end of his term in 2024, including four years when he was prime minister, but he still called the shots.


“Russia will continue moving forwards, and nobody will ever be able to stop this forward movement,” he said, in what may be an early sign that the campaign would invoke nationalist rhetoric of a Russia facing off against a hostile West. Putin has spent a year dodging the question about whether he would run in the elections.

The election date was moved to 18 March to coincide with the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea in an attempt to boost patriotic spirits in the absence of real political compulsions.

The people denouncing Vladimir Putin as an autocrat, an aggressor and worse, nevertheless, feel that a Russia without him could be predictable and more dangerous than a Russia with him at the helm. Putin may not be popular in many parts of the western world, but it is a fact that he has the political ability and acumen to foil the western manipulative strategy.

He may spring a surprise by committing himself to the Marxist ideology and commitment. This would be a deft political move to send a strong message to the western world. No doubt Putin is perceived as a camp follower of the capitalist economy and the world. But for taming the western capitalist world, he had to adopt this strategic line. It is more important for the reason that he does not like to present himself as a protagonist of politics of hegemony.

The overwhelming consensus is that Putin will win as he symbolises the Russian aspiration and ethos. Though he does not pretend to be an ultra nationalist, his entire actions are focused in this direction. Basically, this is the reason that he is being perceived as the harbinger of the Russian cause.

What simply smarten up Putin’s image has his deft handling of the Syrian crisis and breaking the backbone of the ISIS. No doubt the western countries had launched a vicious tirade against Putin and Russia, and even accused him of large scale killing of innocent people and children, but the fact remains that the western lobby under the leadership of America was least interested to eliminate the Islamists and liberate Syria.

The presidential set up is the most powerful institution. His detractors accuse him of misusing the system and turning it as a personalised system. But it feeds him the intelligence he wants, it oversees ministries and governors, and it coordinates his “active measures” political dirty tricks campaign in the west. The Russian people and the leaders will eventually realise some day that Russia might have been in a deep crisis if Putin was not in command. It is true that he believes in capitalist commitment, but the fact of the matter is that these forces would have ravaged and further split Russia.

Notwithstanding Putin pursuing a democratic line, away from the Marxist polemics, the western world still looks at him with suspicion and scepticism. West hates and derides Putin primarily for the reason that he desires and strives to restore the past glory of Russia. His presence certainly denies them the opportunity to meddle in and dictate to Russia.

Once they failed in their design after the Croatia issue, they have launched a vicious campaign about Putin being anti-democracy. The most common refrain has been: “Putin has become increasingly insulated from news which is anti in the nature and also critical opinions. As a result, he often makes serious mistakes in his evaluation of the global scenario. He and his cronies, time and again, have especially shown themselves unable to understand democratic societies, and the resilience that lies beneath the surface of fractiousness and short-termism.”

There is nothing new in these allegations. The western world is known for such insinuation. It has accused Putin of managing and influencing the election of Trump. He was even accused of launching a campaign of hacks, disinformation and covet political donations along with resorting to other gambits to control and shape western politics. While the motive of any action is judged by the impact it makes on the political scenario, so far, any assessment does not charge Putin with worsening the global political setting.

The author is an independent journalist.