Daily Review: Putin Ensures No Surprises as He Extends Rule

Daily Review: Putin Ensures No Surprises as He Extends Rule
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to address units of Russia’s various security forces at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, June 27, 2023 (Sputnik photo by Sergey Guneev via AP).

Russian President Vladimir Putin won another six years in office yesterday, the result of an undemocratic election in which no real competition was allowed. Thousands of Russians nevertheless protested against Putin by arriving to vote at exactly noon, a move that late opposition leader Alexei Navalny called for before his death last month. (New York Times)

Our Take

The vote in Russia was always predetermined and went exactly as expected. That’s largely because Putin had gone to great lengths to ensure there would be no surprises, as underscored by Navalny’s death. It’s debatable if Putin’s extreme vigilance illustrates genuine weakness, but it certainly highlights how important it is to him that nothing undermine his narrative of popular rule.

In that sense, the “Noon Against Putin” protest was successful in displaying that there is some popular dissatisfaction with Putin. But the lack of any real opposition candidates and the climate of fear due to political repression make it difficult to know how widespread it is. And now, with Navalny gone, whatever opposition there is finds itself essentially leaderless.

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