martedì 23 Aprile 2024

About electoral emphasis

The little meaning of the question on democracy in Russia

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We’ve also had skirmishes in the name of “democracy”!

After Putin’s reelection, there was an exchange of accusations between Westerners and Russophiles.
Putin supporters toasted the overwhelming victory of a candidate who essentially ran unopposed, while others were scandalized by the farce staged in what they view as a dictatorship.

The point of contention was the landslide result achieved by the Russian president (87%) with a high voter turnout (67%).
For the Russophiles, this would demonstrate the existence of democracy, participation, and enthusiasm.

Others point out that candidates who were not approved sparring partners of Putin were not allowed to run and that opponents are in prison, in exile, or underground. They add that the elections were not free but monitored and that there is no evidence of the veracity of the reported numbers.

A senseless commotion because both sides are right, but no one looks at the whole picture.

Let’s start with the election fraud

For the Russophiles, everything was regular, for the Westerners, everything was rigged.
It’s evident that the Kremlin could report any numbers it pleased. For all we know, only 30% of the population may have voted, even though 67% was announced.

It was a given that those who voted did so for Putin due to the lack of alternatives.
Given that the technique of preventing challengers from running is not new, let’s remember that these elections have been like this not just recently but for 24 years (including the constitutional interludes of the puppet Medvedev).

It’s highly plausible that the numbers were inflated and distorted. I know people who, due to militant Russophilia, were present as observers in previous presidential elections and told me the numbers were fanciful. For example, in nursing homes, the pro-Putin vote counted was a grotesque 100%, but the number of voters was much higher than the residents and staff.
The usual Bolshevik tendency to give the image of unanimity.

The pot calling the kettle black

I have no doubt that there was fraud and threats in Russia. But who’s preaching from that pulpit?


Some personal reminiscences.
France 2002, second round of presidential elections: a providential “mistake” by the state printer meant that ballots with Chirac’s name and those with Le Pen’s had different shades of color, visible to the naked eye. Voting for Le Pen meant doing so without anonymity, in broad daylight, putting oneself at physical, professional, and tax risk.
Also in France, 2007, first round of the presidential elections. With his security campaign, Sarkozy managed to win the vote of a large part of the Le Pen electorate. That same year, electronic voting was introduced but not in all polling stations. He strangely captured there twice the percentage of voters from the National Front compared to those with traditional counting.

Italy 2005, regional elections in Latium and Lombardy, the only ones in which I was involved supporting friends’ candidates. In each of the polling stations where we had a list representative, the results recorded by the counters did not match those provided the next day by the Ministry of the Interior. Not only those of our candidate but of no one. Based on a quick calculation, I would say that at least ten percent of the final result, probably fifteen, is regularly rigged to the detriment of the small ones and “equally” distributed in favor of the big ones.

Italy 2006, Prodi’s victory over Berlusconi by a few tens of thousands of votes, meaning by a hair. Ballots with votes for Berlusconi were found thrown in the trash: the fraud was glaringly obvious but the vote was never recounted.
Speaking with an intern who had participated in the counting at the ministry, he told me that the real difference would have been estimated in favor of Berlusconi by about a million votes. But in that case, the fraud was truly decisive: Berlusconi had come into conflict with too many economic and energy interests and was against the entire communist sub-power and the Christian democratic left, that is, those who have always greatly skewed the balance in the red regions.

If there’s regime cohesion, the fraud is much more massive than when there’s conflict between equally powerful parties. The difference between here and Russia is this, not transparency or honesty.

Certainly, there are different levels of audacity, bluster, and sophistication in the fraud: but it’s a determining and inalienable part of electoral democracy, whatever form it takes.
Therefore, the debate on Russian elections makes little sense.
They are false, rigged, and also believable at the same time, and in any case, they do not impact reality.

The elements that should be considered are different

For example: how could one think that Russians wouldn’t vote for Putin?
When a country is at war, every people always vote for their government leader and stand behind their head of state. The opposite would be truly strange.
Consider the popularity Churchill enjoyed in England, which, however, waned immediately afterward, or the quasi-dictatorship granted to Roosevelt in the USA during World War II. Probably such popularity was also valid for Stalin in Russia at that time.
When in Italy the king had Mussolini arrested, no fascist revolted: this happened six weeks later when, instead of leading the nation in war, Vittorio Emanuele capitulated.

Only the naive could believe that Putin would be overthrown by his people in wartime. But this consensus from an emergency situation has no relevance to the cause or nobility.
It’s not that the popularity of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin has dignified the imperialistic war of the plutodemocracies; it was only the uninterrupted propaganda of the victors that did so. The American public opinion certainly did not bat an eye over the genocide of the Native Americans or the atomic bombings on Japan, but this does not make those crimes against humanity acceptable.

The flaw lies upstream, both for those hoping for Putin’s rejection and for those rejoicing in his success: this flaw is the superstition of an idealized democracy without reason, while the masses move on psychological stimuli induced by situations and conditioning and do not actually decide anything.

Instead of discussing Russian elections, it would be better to question the lack of pluralism there, which does not manifest in electoral challenges but occurs behind the scenes and in a bloody way.
That dispute has resulted in over twenty more or less prominent deaths in two years, involving high-ranking officials, oligarchs, journalists, all victims of accidents or attacks fancifully attributed to Ukrainians, who had no apparent interest, or to phantom Russian clandestine armies.

The mistake made in the West is to believe that Putin is the omnipotent local leader. He is certainly a powerful man, but above all, he is a great mediator, a true and proper Corleone godfather, capable of ensuring internal cohesion in the clash between gangs. A product of an apparatus, pushed by Yeltsin and Primakov, a man of the Soviet services and, therefore, of the power mafias, he is the Russian adhesive.
This was explained by the Americans themselves when they openly sided with him during the Prigozhin revolt.

There is no single Putin line: there have been several over the years. Even the orientations that now contrast with each other all lead back to the Kremlin. From Karaganov’s pro-China stance, to Kortunov’s pro-European, passing through the more neutral one of Bordachev.


From 2000 to today, Russia has changed its policies and alliances several times, but always under the cover of the mediator-godfather Putin.

The question we should then ask ourselves is what kind of Putin we will have in the coming years. That is, whether Russia will continue to be attracted to China or will change direction again, and it certainly won’t be the ballot boxes that will reveal it.

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