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The crisis of imitation democracy

The scandal surrounding the election of the Governor of Primorye could push the Russian government to completely abandon the imitation of democracy and go to outright dictatorship, said Fyodor Krasheninnikov.

The scandal surrounding the election of the Governor of Primorye once again demonstrates that what is still called in Putin’s Russia, elections are actually irrelevant to the formation of a government based on the free will of citizens. In modern Russia elections is a simulation procedure, which does not take into account the opinion of the population, and to fix the personnel decisions made in the corridors of Executive power.

The impossibility of elections

The idea that the outcome of any significant election campaigns can be unpredictable, destructive to the political system, which was created by Vladimir Putin. And let Communist Andrey Ishchenko, who waves his hands, showing his complete loyalty and willingness to serve the faith and truth, – all this does not make it acceptable for the Kremlin candidate. Because the main rule of the Russian authorities – “superiors know better”, and, therefore, if in place of the head of Primorye, the Kremlin would need Ishchenko, not Tarasenko, the President would have supported.

In the opposite direction, this scheme does not work: Putin does not need politicians who achieved their status by themselves and thus imposed themselves as partners, even if they do the entire soul dedicated to him. It is in democratic countries public policy means that leaders unite and build his popularity, win elections, form the government, implement elaborated in disputes and debates, the programme. In Putin’s Russia want an obedient Executive officials who owed their careers to the President or someone from his entourage, and every second, ready to humbly accept both increases and disgrace.

Moreover, Putin does not need popular people governors: even if today a politician for Putin, where is the guarantee that tomorrow, wanting to keep the trust of voters, he will not oppose the President? And how to remove it from office and put on trial if the inhabitants of the region and indeed for him? And if he calls for them to take to the streets, and they will come?

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If you look at the situation in Primorye with this point of view, Andrei Tarasenko – perfect Governor of late Putinism: unpopular among the population, tainted by dirty elections and owed his post not to the inhabitants of the region, and the President.

Work on the bugs

The situation in Primorye shows that Putin’s model of imitation democracy is working less and creating more costs for the government, discreditied her and Putin himself. From this situation you can go two ways: either to make democracy in Russia less than a simulation, accepting that sometimes people will choose not those who are agreed in the Kremlin, or at all to refuse even to simulate democracy, eliminating any connection between the opinion of citizens and the outcome of the electoral procedures.

The first way in modern Russia is hardly possible, for the reasons mentioned above. In addition, Putin and his entourage have learned the lessons of Perestroika: it is necessary to make elections a little more free and competitive and to give them the winning people access to high stands, as monopoly of the ruling group in power will be questioned. In fact, the essence of what happened in Primorye is just that: cost is a little see through, ignore the potential of a young Communist, and a scandal erupted, exposing the dirty underbelly of Putin’s “democracy”.

Given the deterioration of the socio-economic indicators, spontaneous protest voting on elections of all levels at risk of becoming regular. Therefore, as the reaction of the authorities to events in Primorye and the second round of voting in other regions, rather, we should not expect liberalization of election legislation and General softening of the political regime, but quite the reverse processes.

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The worst is ahead

Even if Putin himself resides in the belief that it is still adored by the people of Russia and always will be, most officials, especially those working directly with the public and involved in the mobilization scheme, perfectly aware of the true scale of popularity of the current government and its prospects amid the deepening crisis.

It is at this level a request for the curtailment of games in democracy: if you know in advance who should lead, why spend so much energy on electoral procedures, even with the risk to get the scandal? If still in power will be the one who agreed, why allow people to Express publicly their displeasure?

In this sense, the scandalous statement of the Director of Regardie General Zolotov can be considered a kind of Manifesto of the part of the entourage of Putin and all the Russian bureaucracy which genuinely do not understand why opponents have to endure in some form, elections or meetings, and not to turn into a “juicy steak” without further ADO.

Putin’s regime has entered the most difficult in its history period: failures and failures in foreign and domestic policy imposed on the General population is tired of unchangeable power and exacerbated by economic problems. In this situation, a final rejection of the imitation of democracy and the transition to outright dictatorship may seem attractive to many high-ranking officials.

Author: Fyodor Krasheninnikov the Russian political scientist and publicist, the author of the books “After Russia” and “Cloud democracy”, which he wrote together with Leonid Volkov.

This comment expresses the personal opinion of the author. It may not coincide with the opinion of the Russian edition and Deutsche Welle as a whole.

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