Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Putin Moves Russia From Authoritarianism to Totalitarianism – Preparation for Elections

Posted by Info on 06/06/2011

A group of 14 acclaimed Russian intellectuals, including human rights activists, artists, film directors, writers have published an open statement condemning the present regime for “completely destroying the institution of democratic elections in Russia.”

Election results are shamelessly falsified by the authorities, while opposition parties and activists are “unconstitutionally” denied registration to run in elections under cooked up pretexts.

So called “vertical of power”—a system of personalized authoritarian rule the prime minister and leader of the ruling United Russia Vladimir Putin has been building since 1999. This “vertical of power” has created a rubberstamp misrepresentative parliament, a “paralyzed Dmitry Medvedev presidency” and dysfunctional regional and municipal authorities.

If the coming Duma elections next December and the presidential elections in March 2012 are again not free or fair, the legitimacy of the entire Russian state will be called into question.

Medvedev has publicly demanded that Putin’s government rescind the drastic hike in payroll taxes that was introduced from January 2011 to fund increases in payouts to pensioners, introduced in the last two years to boost Putin’s popularity. The payroll tax increase has angered business, especially small and medium sized companies. The drastic growth of spending on defense and pension payouts has created a budget deficit that high oil prices cannot cover.

Putin announced the formation of an All-Russia people’s front (ONF, or Obzherossiysky Narodni Front)—an amalgamation of masses of different regional and national public organizations around the ruling United Russia party. This week, Putin’s press service announced: “About 16 All-Russian organizations, 429 regional, interregional and local groups have joined the ONF and more are welcome”
Russian election rules allow only registered parties to field candidates in elections and forbid election blocks. The ONF will run in Duma elections next December under the mantle of United Russia—up to 15 percent of the party election list are allowed to be nonparty members.
Trade and professional unions are joining the ONF, as well as entire municipalities..the entire population of Khabarovsk—a large city of over half a million on the border with China in the Russian Far East—has joined the ONF…thousands of groups large and small the declared “equality of all” will in effect mean they all unequivocally endorse Putin – the great leader and sole decision maker.

During the Cold War Putin served in East Germany as a KGB resident. Unlike the former USSR, which was a strictly one-party state, the former GDR, as well as communist-ruled Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia where so-called “peoples democracies”—ruled by people’s fronts—fictitious multiparty organizations in which the communists had junior partners intended to give a totalitarian dictatorship a nicer look. With the new ONF, Putin is apparently trying to reproduce the GDR of his younger years in today’s Russia.


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