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Russian Elections 2012: Another Reason to Protest

Posted on March 10, 2012 in GlobeScope

By Pallavi Gupta:

The Russian presidential elections 2012 were scheduled to be held on the 4th of March. There were five candidates who contested for this prestigious position in the country, namely,

  • Vladimir Putin nominated by United Russia,
  • Gennady Zyuganov, nominated by the Communist Party,
  • Sergey Mironov, nominated by A Just Russia,
  • Vladimir Zhirinovsky, nominated by Liberal Democratic Party and
  • Mikhail Prokhorov, independent.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin achieved victory over his opponents with 64% of the votes in his favour. Putin is to serve as President of Russia for the third time as he has already functioned as President for two terms (from 2000 to 2008) prior to Dmitry Medvedev.

Though Putin won with a clear majority, there has been a political unrest in the country. The masses have protested against his government and have claimed that the elections were unfair. The Kremlin presidential elections have been said to be a test of confidence for this man.

The party in power, United Russia, has ruled Russia unopposed for a decade, but now they have lost parliamentary majority along with the confidence of a large number of Russian civilians. They have lost control over the parliament, public opinions and the country.

Russian elections 2012 have been described as the dirtiest in the country’s history. The government of Mr. Putin and his United Russia party has been accused of seeking to manipulate the polls and intimidate the opposition. The government has also been impeached of carrying on its campaign of intimidation online; in addition to this, Golos’s website (an association protecting the electoral rights of citizens of Russia) and several other prominent and independent media outlets with long track records of criticizing the autocratic government of Putin had been blocked. Putin, in his defence, accused the media voices and his opponents of sabotaging Russian democracy.

Thousands of anti-Putin protestors have been arrested. A mob of Russian civilians gathered at Moscow square after the election results were announced and furiously chanted ‘Russia without Putin’ in unison. The opposition leaders have declared that the elections were unfair and have vehemently demanded rectification.

United Russia party has been charged of enjoying an unfair advantage of government’s prodigious spending on Putin’s behalf. Putin was a sure bet in the elections, despite all protests and dismay portrayed against him and his government, said observers. This was so because no other creditable charismatic alternative had been allowed to rise up through politics or to develop a popular support necessary to mount a real challenge against Putin.

Russia’s only independent watchdog Mikhail Prokhorov has claimed to have received thousands of complaints of voters’ irregularity. It has been reported that hundreds of coaches filled with people were driven into Moscow city to vote for Putin and civilians were even paid to cast their vote in his favour. In a rally held in Moscow, protestors demanded an end to political repression. An investigation has been called for to look into the dupery and early presidential elections.

The elections have been said to be a procedure, and not a real election. Putin is facing a range of challenges from his people. Mr. Remchukov has said, “If Putin ignores this crowd, if he thinks he’s got victory, he will be the loser, because their ideas will defeat any system; He doesn’t have time. He has to adopt the international standards of democracy right now.”