He did it his way..
So, Vladimir Putin has been elected to be President of Russia for the next six years. Those who spoke of the beginning of the end, may want to look at the high percentage of people who voted for their former Prime Minister, above 60 per cent, and at who is making the claims of vote rigging, an oligarch exactly the type of leader many Russians clearly do not want.
Putin loves Russia – when he said long live Russia, he meant it, however if Russia is really going to progress it can not continue with the same man in power forever and until real viable alternatives emerge, that is unfortunately what is going to happen.
The jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has written in today’s Guardian newspaper arguing the Arab spring had inspired peoples everywhere including Russians. He called on voters to reject Vladimir Putin in next weekend’s Presidential elections. He also claimed that the middle class who it is said will be in a majority in ten years time will no longer accept Putin’s ‘managed democracy.’
According to The Guardian, Khodorkovsky has emerged as “a siren voice of freedom and democratic change”, though it adds for balance that he has also become a divisive figure for ordinary Russians who remember him as a billionaire oligarch.
All this may be true, but when Vladimir Putin came to power Russia which had been a superpower had just defaulted, it was also within the iron grip of a number of business men who appeared to have no other interest than amassing more wealth for themselves and it was of course ordinary Russians who suffered as a consequence.
So, if someone like Khodorkovsky appears to be a divisive figure to the not so well-heeled, they may have a point.
Caucasus, Chechen Boy is dragged from his home by Russian soldiers, Chechnya, Distant Echoes, Nayab Chohan, NayabChohanLIVE, Ottoman Empire, Putin, Putin and Russia, Russia and Putin, Russia and the Caucasus, Russia and the West, Template News, Vladimir Putin
Last night’s BBC documentary Putin, Russia and The West contained perhaps the most powerful and disturbing footage broadcast on terrestrial television yet.
A boy from a village in Chechnya is dragged out of his home by Russian soldiers, he is heard screaming for his life – ‘hy-aa Allah’ – and the narrator tells us that his body was found much later buried in a Russian base.
The pictures which were shot before the Moscow Theatre siege, and of course much earlier than Beslan, are perhaps also the first hard proof of what Russia’s soldiers were doing as they attempted to reconquer Chechnya for their president, Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s military doctrine when it comes to conquering and reconquering its restive Muslim provinces has been simple – the harder you hit them, the less likely they are to come back again.
Russia’s soldiers were of course the original ethnic cleansers, a process that began under Ivan the Terrible is still ongoing to this day in the Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingush Settia.
Little wonder then that the West has found it hard to accommodate Russia as a part of Europe or Nato.
Clearly stung by the turnout of Saturday’s demonstration against the parliamentary elections, Vladimir Putin has accused outside forces of attempting to influence the outcome of who leads the country that he loves so much.
That the former KGB man has brought stability is without a shadow of doubt, one only has to look at the state of this former superpower when he came to power.
A decade of Boris Yeltsin had pushed Russia to bankruptcy, defeat in Chechnya – though that was seen by others, including myself, as a magnimous move by the President – and a culture of a gangster economy, now known as the reign of the oligarchs.
Putin set about reversing some of this – no one doubts that everything he did, he did so for the sake of the sacred state of Russia.
But how much of a difference has that made – on the surface Moscow appears properous, vibrant, young, yet at what cost has all that come.
Chechnya has been rebulit, or Grozny at least, but at a horendous human cost – it said, and this is by no means a rumour, that Russian forces killed every young man or boy they could get their hands on, in a bid to pacify this rebellious republic.
The journalist Anna Politkovskaya lost her life telling the world what her country’s forces were doing to the people of Grozny.
Putin’s response was straightforward, he set up RussiaToday which gave the world the official line.
So, in amongst the daily news stories, entertainment and sports news, there comes a report from a young reporter of the latest terrorist operation in the Caucasus conducted by Russian security forces.
Max Keiser may talk about the downfall of western capitalism, but he has little to say about how Russia’s own economy has enriched the lives of her own citizens, how the young are so disillusioned that they either take to the bottle or inject heroin to get through each day.
How much the lives of ordinary Russians have been enhanched by a decade of Putin and perhaps a decade of more of this stability is the question that this fierce nationalist has to ask himself.
Unfortunately, if stability is all that he is offering, then he may be only delaying the inevitable, the eventual collapse of Russia.
The Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as the main force in Egyptian politics after the first round of the country’s first ever free elections.
The results mean that the military which has been in power since overthrowing the British appointed monarch in the fifties may be finally releasing its hold on power.
The large turn out indicates that many Egyptians think so.
As democracy appears to be winning in one part of the world it is failing in another, namely that of Russia, where Vladmir Putin’s United Russia party won the parliamentary elections with a scaled back majority.
State-run RussiaToday was trying to put a positive spin on the results which are seen as a test of Putin’s popularity ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
However, an angry crowd in Moscow – some of whom were attacked by Russian police – were clearly not impressed by reports of widespread vote rigging and a clampdown on any independent monitoring.
Despite a heavy police presence today, people were still out to voice their anger.
On the surface, there is a gulf between both elections.
However, a closer look at the outcomes reveal that perhaps the choices of the people are not that different though.
Egyptians have followed the lead in Tunisia and Iraq, by voting for Islamists.
Could Russians vent their frustrations through a return to Communism – the emergence of the Communist Party during the parlimentary elections suggests so.
Either way, this appears to be a victory for reactionaries, not progressives.