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Election Management

In Belarus they overdid it and decided to get an 85% victory, but Putin is more polished in his theft. The BBC reports: Monitors denounce Russia election

With nearly 98% of ballots counted, Mr Putin’s United Russia had 64.1% of Sunday’s vote.

The election “was not fair and failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections,” the observers from the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly told a news conference in Moscow.

The statement said the polls “took place in an atmosphere which seriously limited political competition” and that “there was not a level political playing field”.

“Frequent abuse of administrative resources, media coverage strongly in favour of the ruling party and an election code whose cumulative effect hindered political pluralism” had tainted the polls, the observers said.

The OSCE had abandoned its plans to send a large team of monitors, accusing Moscow of imposing curbs and delaying visas. Russia denied the claims.

Delaying tactics and bureaucratic foul-ups to keep down the number of observers and no overt act of violence: it’s a pleasure to watch a professional ply his craft. Putin won his seat in the Duma [parliament], will become the prime minister, and the Russian presidency will become ceremonial with most of the real power in the hands of the prime minister.

If Boris Yeltsin’s term reminded you of Yes Minister , then Putin’s reign is the House of Cards. The US-Russian leaders were intellectual polar opposites during these years, but I’m not sure the world would have survived the Shrubbery and Yeltsin in power at the same time.


1 Fallenmonk { 12.03.07 at 4:41 pm }

It was definitely decisive and you must give Putin credit for effectiveness. You are right that we were probably lucky that we had Putin in control and had his intelligence and insight to balance Bush/Cheney.

2 Badtux { 12.03.07 at 5:45 pm }

Putin is indeed a master and a work of art at his craft. That said, he is also immensely popular in Russia as “the savior of the country” and could pretty much write his own ticket even without the electoral manipulations. Granted, much of this popularity is because the State-dominated media does everything possible to paint him in the brightest light possible, but also Russians remember the hungry Yeltsin years and the relatively affluent Putin years and know which one they prefer, and would prefer not to take chances on an unknown.

All in all, Putin is an impressive politician. Ruthless, unscrupulous, and no friend of any nation other than Russia, but impressive all the same. But I’m sure glad he’s Russian rather than American. Can you imagine what it’d be like if someone like Putin had risen to power at the head of the Republican machine, rather than the inept and incompetent Bush? We’d be in the gulag by now…

3 Bryan { 12.03.07 at 5:56 pm }

You don’t have to like someone to admire their ability. Picasso was by by all accounts about as caring on a personal level as Rudy Giuliani, but he could create.

Putin took democracy apart, figured out how it worked and then built his own customized version suited to Russia. He is competent and gets things done which is all the Russian people want after Yeltsin. He will be around for a very long time.

4 andante { 12.03.07 at 10:22 pm }

Agreed, but his “Putin Youth” or whatever they call themselves really gives me the Cold War heebie-jeebies.

5 Bryan { 12.03.07 at 11:11 pm }

Frankly, Andante, I think they give Putin a creepy feeling based on a couple of videos. They are certainly not the Young Pioneers [Soviet era communist youth clubs]. They act more like rock groupies.