How a Democratically Elected Leader Behaves in the Face of Adversity

Blackleaf

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Putin was NOT democratically elected. Russia isn't a democracy.
 

petros

The Central Scrutinizer
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Moccasin Flats
The 1993 constitution declares Russia a democratic, federative, law-based state with a republican form of government. State power is divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Diversity of ideologies and religions is sanctioned, and a state or compulsory ideology may not be adopted.
Constitution: Constitution of Russia
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Politics of Russia - Wikipedia

 

Blackleaf

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How to steal an election, Russian-style​

Over time, the Putin regime systematically consolidated its domination over politics, turning elections from a democratic contest into a controlled system that delivered regime victories.

Russian elections are now state-directed performances that eliminate opposition. Random targeted arrests and violence – especially against those who try to lead alternative political movements – are common. Alexei Navalny, leader of a reform movement and now recovering from a poisoning, could tell us a lot about that. So could Yegor Zhukov, a student blogger who was arrested and convicted of extremism and then beaten outside of his home for his political actions.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny after being released from a hospital in Germany.
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny on Sept. 23 after being released from a hospital in Germany where he was treated for severe poisoning, for which he has blamed Putin. Alexey Navalny's Instagram Account / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Even eliminating viable opposition can’t ensure certain victories at the polls. To eliminate all risk, as Russia demonstrates, autocrats must take four additional steps:

  1. Dominate the media message by controlling major news outlets through ownership, creating laws that stifle press freedom and repressing outspoken journalists.
  2. Assert control over local government officials who then ensure that voters turn out to support the regime.
  3. Build a vote tabulation process that allows ballot stuffing and falsified vote counts.
  4. Declare victory immediately and allow no questioning of the results.
Emerging from a decade of economic and political chaos in 2000, President Vladimir Putin honed his electoral machine to do just that. The Kremlin used its media control to project a dominant narrative in support of Putin. He never campaigned for votes. He appeared nightly on state television delivering new technology to hospitals or dedicating new monuments to Russia’s World War II victory. All this creates the image of an unassailable leader and inevitable winner.

Together with legislative allies, the Kremlin changed electoral laws at every election to maintain the dominance of the pro-Kremlin party.

Government officials, including governors and mayors who rely on the Kremlin to keep their jobs, also have developed informal practices to deliver victories. For example, local officials demand that state workers in factories, hospitals and schools turn out to vote. It’s common to insist that employees bring other voters with them or face losing their jobs. These officials also put paid loyalists on buses to vote at several polling stations in a single day.

There is an unwritten regulation that poll workers must be members of the pro-Kremlin party, United Russia. And they count behind closed doors, padding the vote as they go.