Putin the Pleaser

MOSCOW: Russia’s election campaign was a bore. I wish I could explain that it was tedious because we are now a normal democratic country, a place where politics is mundane, not a matter of life and death. But Russia is still another type of country. So a Russian election that seems Soviet in its utter predictability is not to be welcomed. Fundamental issues remain unsettled; hard choices must be made. Informed, consent is needed, and our democratic election did not provide it.

Voters were so bored that there was real doubt that the minimum 51% of all eligible voters would cast their ballots and thus make the election results valid. Abstention on such a scale would at least have made the election interesting. Outside Russia, of course, the world has been preoccupied by our so-called campaign, probably only because Russia’s democracy still seem such a novelty.

As expected for months, Vladimir Putin won by a wide margin. No longer is he "acting" president. Instead, Putin rules in his own right. But what is his mandate? No one knows for certain. Hints as to the general tenor of his presidency can, perhaps, be found in discovering why Putin’s star rose so meteorically.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/piZDTue;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.