CSP Security Forum | Dec 05, 2007
by Alex Alexiev
As Putin's power grows, Russia's long-term prospects fall. It was perhaps inevitable that Russia's tortuous post-communist experiment in democracy would grind to a halt, but it is more than a bit ironic that it would do so not in a spasm of violence but through a rigged ballot box.
Regardless, Putin's elections have put paid to democracy and authoritarian rule or worse is what the country is facing. And judging by the extremes to which Putin went in suppressing the opposition and manipulating public opinion and the electoral process prior to the polls, it is almost certainly going to be worse. It is worth reminding ourselves of the Kremlin's extreme rhetoric and pre-election shenanigans here, because they are a stark reminder of both Russia's unhappy past and uncertain future and also because they didn't seem to make much sense in an election whose outcome was never in doubt. It began with the unusually strident anti-western and anti-American propaganda campaign unleashed by the Kremlin, complete with lurid tales of CIA plots to overthrow the government, that eerily echoed Stalinist times, as did Putin's angry denunciations of his political opponents as paid agents of Russia's foreign enemies.
In what may be a reflection of the man's paranoid views, he accused the former communists and their liberal victims both of having willfully destroyed the great Soviet Union. Last but perhaps most telling, the election campaign turned into a gigantic exercise of building Putin up as a nearly mythical savior-of-the-nation icon of the type known as "cult of personality" in the Stalinist era. To Continue Reading, click here