Staunton, July 9 – Since winning approval of constitutional changes including one that may allow him to stay in power 16 more years, Vladimir Putin has taken the offensive, attacking intellectuals (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/07/09/86211-rossiya-na-izmene), expanding attacks on journalists (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/195907
First of all, he says, “this is a signal to all opposition candidates who are taking part in the gubernatorial campaigns now just beginning: don’t think seriously about going for victory. If you win, it will be still worse for you.” Those who win elections can be sent to prison if Putin decides he needs to.
Second, “this is a signal to the gubernatorial corps: don’t imagine that ‘coronavirus federalization’ is real: All power which was transferred to localities during the epidemic must be returned intact.” By making this demand in this way, Putin is making clear that for him politically, the pandemic is over.
And third, “after the arrest of Furgal, the LDPR will find it easier to show that it is a real opposition and not some Kremlin spoiler. That is not unimportant in light of the growing protest attitudes and the approaching Duma elections. Now the Zhirinovsky group will be able with complete basis to seek the votes of dissatisfied voters.”
From Putin’s perspective, if they vote in that way rather than for other opposition groups or even the KPRF, that won’t be the worst outcome.
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