The Berlin experts on Russian domestic politics doubt the authenticity of the results of voting on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Russian opposition are predicting hard times.
“Typical of Putin’s re-enactment” – describes the results of the vote on the amendments to the Constitution of the Federation of German historian and political scientist Susanne span (Susanne Spahn). According to her, legal amendments were necessary because the majority voted on the provisions already enshrined in Federal law. The whole purpose of voting was to ensure, to guarantee Vladimir Putin being in power until 2036, says span. And the vote itself, she describes as “a mix of a vote of confidence in Putin, public opinion polls and legislative initiatives.”
A vote of confidence to Putin on the background of falling popularity
National vote of confidence in the President was due to declining ratings of Putin, says Susannah span. In some public opinion polls his popularity has dropped to 25 percent, she says. The second purpose of the vote – handing out promises of social guarantees for different segments of the population, linked into a package with the vote for the extension of the powers of the President.
With regard to the circumstances of the vote, span calls them “funny”. Because the procedure was prolonged for a week, it is almost impossible to control. Voters could vote in the most unexpected places, and some did it more than once. Was involved an administrative resource, coercion, and sometimes even physical violence. All this gives grounds to say that as a form of voting and its result is extremely doubtful, says span. She quotes a famous saying of Stalin that “no matter how they vote, and it is important how to count” and said that the motto of the elections in Russia are held for a long time.
The vote at the peak of the pandemic
“It is also interesting to watch as Putin, who wants to appear national leader that cares about the welfare of the population, votes in the midst of a pandemic, – the expert continues. – And thus deliberately risking the health of people. In General, the reason for this plebiscite was not a medical nor legal point of view.”
The head of Moscow representative office of the German Foundation Friedrich Naumann Julius von Freytag-of Loringhoven (Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven) the result of the vote was not surprised. “Putin is still June 12, suggested that the majority of voters will vote correctly. And election officials across the country have put this effort” – said the expert.
In this case on the merits in the political scenario, nothing changes, Putin has kept and keeps the country under control, says von Freytag-Loringhoven. “At least now he has created a constitutional option to remain President until 2036, which will allow him to avoid any discussions about a successor in the coming decades”, – says the analyst.
Russian opposition faces hard times
As for the prospects of the democratic opposition, on the eve of the vote, it became clear that the authorities will suppress any criticism of the amendments, said the head of the Moscow representative office of the Foundation Nauman. He regards it as evidence of the nervousness of the Russian authorities amid the deteriorating economic situation, rising unemployment and a falling rating of the President. Therefore, the opposition faces tough times, he said.
German expert admits the possibility of large-scale falsification of election results, the procedure is not consistent with even the Russian electoral law. In areas were no cameras, no sealed boxes, no required number of independent observers. “A high turnout and a high percentage voted “Yes” in the referendum, the outcome of which was known in advance – to me, it sounds doubtful,” commented Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven.
As for the reaction of the European and German politicians on the voting results, it seems, he said that they are not particularly interested in what is happening in Russia, because they are employed in the solution of national problems in connection with the pandemic. “However, the prospect that Putin will remain in power until 2036, making important investments in the German-Russian dialogue,” – he said, adding that the German government should behave with Russia more consistently, avoiding situations in which certain Ministers are contrary to the policy of the Chancellor.