As expected, he has sailed comfortably. He had to win; it was already projected and yes there was plenty of support for him and certainly there would be good enough reasons with the segment of the population supporting him.
But equally denouncing were the observations and criticism of frauds, vote rigging and violations in the election process by the international observers.
Today, Russia saw a weeping Putin claiming his victory. Was it the emotional side of Russia’s best known and ‘projected’ masculine figure who has been more in the news for negative reasons since he decided to continue eternally as the supreme political figure and government head of Russia? He did it with switching his position as the prime minister and installing a puppet as the Russian president four years ago, and today, he renewed his license to be the lord of the ‘Russian Ring’ for another six years.
Or it was just an emotional outburst of yet another dictator-in-making?
Or a well thought-off, calculated public relations gesture to begin on the next round of the exercise aimed at establishing his absolute rule in Russia?
Putin’s Russia chanting slogans of ‘Putinism’!
Six years is a long time on the geopolitical scale of any country and if the country is Russia that has had a history of dictators running the show with ruthlessness and vengeance, we tend to think of the latter prospect more easily.
Giving basis to the anti-Putin thoughts in the post-poll scenario is the clear observation by the international monitors who said Russia’s presidential election was clearly skewed in favour of Vladimir Putin.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) posted on its website about serious problems with the election process. BBC quoted the OSCE statement, "The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt."
What is seriously disturbing is the fact that the vote-count was negatively assessed in almost one-third of the polling stations under observation.
Mr. Putin has won 63.6 per cent of the votes while the State TV exit polls had given projections of about 59 per cent and Golog, and independent election watchdog of Russia, had assessed it to be around 50 per cent. And 50 per cent is the threshold around which Putin’s popularity has been hovering around in the recent past.
So when our macho Putin emerged with tear in his eyes claiming victory in the polls, there were plenty of suspecting eyes questioning the genuine intent of Judo Blackbelt holder’s wet eyes. AFP made an interesting observation – “It was the day Russian state television aired the Soviet classic movie "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears" and the night its strongman leader Vladimir Putin appeared misty-eyed before the nation.” The AFP report further wrote of a man asking Putin if the tears were real.
Like this all has been a chapter in an unfolding drama, the prolific blogger and the main Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny told a TV channel, "Today, our leader really had a reason to cry, "He looked at everything around him and said: 'God, what have I done to this place?” Navalny extended his outrage on his blog writing, “The armed forces are guarding the stolen votes. Public sector workers are grimly silent as they cheer 'We won! It's enough to make anyone cry.”
Meanwhile, the protests continued. People collected in different parts chanting ‘Russia without Putin’ and other slogans. Media reports put the number of arrested protesters around 100-150. Protesters have called for further rallies and are talking of taking the protests to the smaller towns and rural areas. Thousands are mobilizing support for future protest rallies.
Now what happens next in Russia is something that we may never know if Putin decides to crackdown after gaining full six years in the office. We, the members of the global community, would like to see things going the other way, the democratic way but, for the moment, events in Russia look scary.
A report on the Toronto Star quoted Masha Gessen, author of ‘The Man Without a Face’ and a Putin expert saying, “It is a scary situation. There were webcams in all the voting precincts and people spent hours watching them. The vote fixing was brazen, and a lot of people are upset.” She further says, “Putin has a warped view of reality, and he is getting bad information. He thinks all he has to do in a period of unrest is to declare victory and tighten the screws. We are in for a tightening of the screws.”
|Photograph sourced from the Internet|
|Photograph sourced from the Internet|