Policy of Russia on Political Elections - Dictionary of Arguments
Krastev I 99
Political Elections/manipulation/Policy of Russia/Krastev: (...) it is simply impossible to make sense of Putin's Russia without taking electoral manipulation into account.
Question: Why did Putin need elections if only a minority of Russians believed that Russia was becoming a democracy and almost no one outside Moscow believed that Russia was already one?" (1) And why did the Kremlin rig elections in a manner so flagrant that nobody could doubt that they were being rigged (by barring
Krastev I 100
potentially appealing candidates, for example) and that the Kremlin was doing the rigging? That elections are 'engineered', as Julia Ioffe has remarked, is 'something everyone in Russia, no matter what their rhetoric or political persuasion, knows and accepts'.(2)
Krastev I 101
Yet Putin could not have gained and maintained his power without resorting to periodically rigged elections. This paradox may be post-communist Russia's most closely guarded secret. Russia's rigged elections were transparently inadequate imitations of Western democracy. But they were not just a decorative facade. First of all, as Pavlovsky foresaw (>Political technolgy/Krastev), periodic elections helped construct and drive home, on a regular basis, the 'no alternative' rationale for Putin's rule. (...) polling in 2011 confirmed the thesis that Putin's 'popularity' reflected public 'inertia' and 'a lack of other alternatives.(3)
Krastev: But this is exactly the point. If voters could be convinced that no feasible alternative to the current leadership existed, they would adapt fatalistically to the status quo.
Krastev I 102
Rigged elections also provided periodic opportunities for the ostensible party of power to rebrand itself. By coining new slogans and even introducing new faces, Putin's United Russia Party was able to present itself as a force for both stability and change.(4) >Political Technology/Krastev.
Rigged elections were also at the heart of Putin's constantly renegotiated
contract not with the people but with regional elites. (...), elections served as the principal instrument for controlling the country's political elite and recruiting new cadres (...).
Krastev I 103
During the first decade of the twenty-first century, periodic elections also served to demonstrate (that is, to exaggerate) Russia's national unity and to dramatize the imagined coherence and solidarity of Putin country. Another function of Russia's rigged elections during the first Putin decade was to draw a line between the 'loyal opposition' and what the Kremlin saw as a fifth
column of enemies and traitors.
Krastev I 104
Imitation/authority: (...) Putin's rigged elections served not to mimic democracy, but rather to imitate authoritarianism.
Krastev I 132
A recent study has revealed that in the last decade trust in democracy has declined in the West's developed democracies, and that levels of
Krastev I 133
mistrust towards democracy as a political system are highest among younger people.(5) A central pillar of Putin's anti-Western policy is to nourish these seeds of doubt, giving American and European citizens ever more reasons to disbelieve that periodic elections in the West work to the public's advantage.
1. In Levada-Center polls between 2005 and 2015, around 34 per cent of respondents reported that 'development of democracy' is what 'most accurately describes the situation in the country.'
2. Julia Ioffe, 'The Potemkin Duma', Foreign Policy (22 October 2009).
3. Michael Schwirtz, 'Russians Shrug at Prospects of Another Putin Term, Poll Shows', The New York Times (7 October 2011).
4. The Kremlin's game with United Russia is quite complicated: it should be assured of winning over its nominal competitors, yet in such a way that it never appears a strong force or a genuine 'people's party' - for that might turn it into a challenger or rival to the Kremlin.
5. Yascha Mounk, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It (Harvard University Press, 2018)._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
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