Russia-Same As It Ever Was-Putin 1999---->

The Economist July 4th 2020 pp43-45 Europe|Russia|”Parade’s end” “After 20 years in power, Vladimir Putin’s legitimacy is draining away”

The Kremlin

If you are wondering about Russia, short story is Putin was “was appointed acting president of Russia by the “resigning” Boris Yeltsin at the end of 1999”. He was then elected effective May 7th 2000 and “legitimately” held the presidency until May 7th 2008. Since then until 2020 he’s maintained control through manipulation and now as of April 22nd he’s installed himself until at least 2024. He’s used strong-hand techniques and nationalism most notably taking away Crimea from the Ukraine in 2018. His term was extended recently via a referendum calling for more than 200 changes including, the-not-really-mentioned, resetting his presidential term limit to zero-for the second time. It was an open vote using traditional ballots and electronic ballots with two options-for all or against all proposals. Among the 206 Items were “inflation-proof pensions, protected status for the Russian language, the banning of gay marriage…[and] proclamations of faith in god and ancestors. This all “violates the post-soviet constitution of 1993, which Mr. Putin swore to uphold”. After his first essential resetting of his presidency term limits in 2011 (he took on being Prime Minister) he faced push-back as “protests broke out in large Russian cities”.

Nationalism does not put bread on the table and Russians have seen GDP decline YOY % Change from a peak gain of +4% in 2010, to less than barely over 2% from 2013 to 2019 and now in 2020 at -7% change YOY. Trust in Putin has steadily declined from a high of 60% in 2017 to just above 20% now despite the fact the “200 Referendum” was passed with 78%. “By 2018 the Crimean bounce had largely dissipated. International sanctions and the cronyism of the new elite made Russians poorer”. Local control too has been crushed adding to a fall in Putin’s popularity. In 2019 “mass protests broke out in Moscow after the Kremlin disqualified all the independent candidates in (relatively unimportant) municipal elections”. Putin shrouded his “200 Referendum” in “Our society is clearly calling for change”.

From "The Independent"

According to the report “The weaker its support, the more Mr. Putin’s regime is likely to rely on repression”. Looking back to March 1991, “Almost 78% [of the Soviet people] responded that “the Soviet Union should be preserved”. “Five months later the KGB mounted a coup to oust Mikhail Gorbachev” which was crushed in two days but “by the end of the year the Soviet Union was gone”.

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