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The high-stakes Russian roulette

A critical phase has begun in Russian politics, which will be decisive in the run-up to the presidential election on March 4. The pent-up socio-economic frustrations and a new popular mood seeking ‘change’ in the political system are apparent. The situation is dynamic as the removal of the hatchet man in the Kremlin Vladislav Surkov to an ‘apolitical’ job seems to imply. Indeed, it shows the willingness to consider a genuine change of course for the political system

Surkov has been deemed as a key ideologue of the system. Having said that, Vladimir Putin has been dismissive about the calls for a repoll. The point is, he remains confident of his popularity, which still remains high, and there is no one in Russian politics today who can even remotely measure up to his popularity. 
The western press has launched a furious onslaught on him personally. The venom is all-too evident — although it comes as no surprise. The attempt is to raise dust and create mayhem in Russia so that Putin’s election in March gets mired in controversy.  
It is a do-or-die battle in geopolitical terms, since the international system is at a crossroads and Russia’s role in it will crucially depend on who holds the levers of power in the Kremlin. Unsurprisingly, China too remains keenly attentive of developments. The government newspaper China Daily featured an article by Academician Mikhail Titarenko on the Russian political scene. Titarenko attacks the western campaign against Putin as borne out of calculated intent to weaken Russia’s role in the international system. 
Titarenko leads the great trinity of Sinologists in the Russian Academy of Sciences — the other two being professors Anatoly Lukyanov and Artem Kobzev. (Alas, we have no equivalents in India.) He enjoys huge reputation within the Chinese establishment and intellectual circles and the timing of the article is significant. The article is here

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2 Responses

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  1. Johan says

    A great analysis indeed.

    In a recent video at the KPRF site, Zyuganov estimated that “United Russia” could not have gotten much more than 30% of the actual votes, and that the number could have been even as low as 25% – a half of the claimed “49%”! If that was indeed so, it would mean that the KPRF was either the actual winner, or at least closely tied with “UR” (on the reasonable premise that the other parties were not much shortchanged).

    However, in all practicality, this won’t matter, as it is hard to imagine that there would be any recount – especially in face of the abysmally shameless western meddling. The scavenging west, of course, has no love lost for the KPRF, but loves to fish in any disturbed and murky waters.

    And no matter how much one prefers to see Zyuganov in Kremlin, it will be Putin in March.

    So the questions at the moment remain, whether the UR party in Duma, no longer having the constitutional majority – and being well aware of the above percentages – will make some “deal” with the KPRF, or will simply have to heed a bit more of the latter’s wishes, and how much of this all will translate into the presidential politics. As Mr. Ambassador put it in one of his excellent articles here (7 Dec. 2011), it will be interesting to watch.

  2. tick says

    Given the global destructive potential Russia packs, it is natural that Western forces shall deploy all means to safeguard against any vulnerability. The economic competition, particularly for energy resources, also creates considerable motivation for obtaining a favourable internal environment with Russia.

    However, as the American saying goes, If it does not kill you, makes you stronger. A strand of the same thought is available in Mahabharata wherein Bheema is poisoned by Durdyodhana and thrown into a river, only to emerge unscathed and far stronger.

    Last elections, playing up those real fears to create a political divide made eminent sense, and the mandate was received. It is crystal clear that Putin elites have achieved spectacular success on this count. But their non-performance on vulnerabilities of journalists, non-oil sector growth, policy confusion in support to repressive regimes, pervasive corruption etc as reported in Western press is also clearly evident.

    Systemic safeguarding of democracy needs an arrangement where a win either way does not stake the existential stability of the nation itself. Here there is much to be learned from Indian democracy, where political polarization avoided McCarthyism vis-a-vis Indian Communists and created adequate political space for all constituents by never questioning their nationalistic credentials.

    It seems Russia is already stable and strong enough to take all external machinations in its strides and create political polarization focused on internal needs for societal improvements.

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