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PRESIDENT PUTIN RE-ELECTED March 6, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Global Electoral Politics.
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The election of Vladimir Putin to become the Russian President for the third time does not seem to have attracted much attention.

This could be attributed to the fact that the level of support he seems to have received matches the opinion polls. If this is true, the belief that the polls were “skewed” or otherwise rigged would be called into question. The experience of the voting for parliament may call this conclusion into question. International observers seemed to doubt the authenticity of the results.

Regardless of the circumstances, his election seems to be an established fact. Vladimir Putin achieved about 65% of the votes cast, but this was from 56% of the enrolled voters. For most elections anywhere this would count as an extraordinary low turnout, and perhaps does not reflect well on his opponents as national figures, or parties with national organizations. In Moscow (Moskava), Putin won 47% of the vote.

Russia Today provided post-polling commentary:

The more important questions go to the significance of his victory for economic policy within the country and external politics. I have no way of knowing or assessing his platform he presented to the electorate. I am guessing that Putin will take a more hardline stance towards Russian interests abroad. For example, it has been suggested that brutal response by the Syrian Government was orchestrated with Russian advice based on experience in Chechnya.

So what might be a broader and deeper understanding of what has happened as a development within a historical context. One historian (via War in Context) has called into question the reality of Soviet Union as an existential threat to North America and Western Europe, which supposes that the nuclear weapons that the Russians still possess were primarily defensive.

What strategic vision might a Russian leader, not necessarily President Putin, enviage? Igor Panarin suggest that such a leader might have a critical role in transforming the world. He argues:

The Russian leader should primarily recognize that ideology and information are the long-standing vulnerabilities of the Russian state, which caused it to collapse twice in the 20th Century. Therefore, it would be helpful for the development of Russian statehood if the government would establish a State Ideology (Spirituality, Greatness, Dignity) and set up a special mechanism for countering foreign media aggression through a set of administrative, PR and media-related measures. This would enable Russia to become a pan-Eurasian center of gravity in both economic and spiritual terms.

What is interesting about this is that it includes us:

In order to rescue Europe from its current crisis, it seems reasonable to propose a joint commission that would include representatives from both the EEC and the European Union. The new body should be focused on creating a common economic space stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Scotland to New Zealand, with a view to forging a pan-continental common market. In the future, supranational pan-continental market institutions, such as a Continental Commission and a Continental Bank, could be established in order to provide universal regulation for the EU and the Eurasian Union and set the agenda for future development.

This is not to suggest that this would be what Putin has in mind. However, world players, would be world players, whether they are governments or corporations, necessarily have an understanding of the wider global context in the pursuit of national interests, in a similar way that short term goals may have long term implications. In these matters, as those on a smaller scale, there are questions of means and ends.

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