Putin catches himself cheating so nullifies the election in order not to lose.
The Dweller’s Guide has regularly speculated on what might happen if Mr Putin ever lost popular support in Russia. Would he just have to cheat a bit harder to win elections? Imprison more opponents? Use more force against civilians? Or would he accept defeat, become a confirmed democrat and retire quietly to ride his horse and collect stamps with his picture on them?
Until recently it looked like we would have to wait until the 2024 elections to find out.
But then, the unthinkable happened…
While Russians loved him for illegally annexing Crimea,
approved of his meddling in US elections,
and cheered him on for sending GRU agents abroad to murder people,
they drew the line at him raising men’s state pension age to 65. That was just too much.
The level of public trust in Putin has fallen from a high of 70% after Crimea to just 37% now. His party struggled in the recent elections and in Moscow, about 2,500 demonstrators ignored police warnings to disperse. They chanted “Putin is a thief!” and “No increase in the pension age!” 800 people across Russia were detained. 80% of Russians are against Putin’s plans.
But there was still no real clue as to how Putin would respond to the loss of public support.
In the Primorye region in the east (already having a reputation for scandal, corruption and smuggling, its leader having been dismissed from his post, apparently at his own request) there were accusations of a massive poll rigging exercise in favour of Putin’s candidate, Andrei Tarasenko. When 98% of the votes had been counted, the Communist Party candidate, Mr Ishchenko was ahead, but somehow, the result changed overnight because Putin’s candidate won all of the remaining 2% of votes.
Then election officials nullified the result, because, as a Kremlin spokesperson explained, “legitimacy, transparency, cleannness and fairness of elections is much more important to Mr Putin than victory of a candidate he backs.”
So, now we have our answer: Mr Putin is a true democrat and he cares nothing about his own position, he is willing to sacrifice office in pursuit of ‘legitimacy and fairness.’
Except none of this is real. Take a look at what has actually happened here.
The election, which was being won by an opposition candidate has been nullified. Notice that the obviously fraudulent result hasn’t been overturned. It’s more a case of ‘We got caught cheating so we’ve cancelled the election altogether.’ There will be a new vote in three month’s time. And guess what, Mr Putin will have a candidate to stand again, and in all probability, once the fuss has all died down, they’ll do a better job of cheating the election next time.
As Mr Ishchenko, the opposition candidate says,
‘If we have one election invalidated, then we should invalidate all elections that took place in the country over the past 26 years.’
Well, you got that right, Mr Ishenko
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