WASHINGTON, D.C. – El Presidente Vladimir Putin convirtió las elecciones presidenciales de Rusia en un referéndum sobre él mismo… y ha obtenido una victoria aplastante. Pero, si bien se niega a exponer claramente sus planes para permanecer en el poder una vez que expire su segundo mandato en la primavera próxima, su política económica resulta clara.

Lo más extraño de las elecciones a la Duma fue que Putín perdió la calma. Se prodigó exageradamente en apariciones públicas que fueron tan agresivas como poco substanciales. Arremetió contra Occidente y el “caos” del decenio de 1990, del mismo modo que en 1999 expresó su cólera contra los terroristas chechenos y en 2003 contra los oligarcas.

El Kremlin abandonó los procedimientos democráticos, al controlar el proceso de autorización a los partidos y a sus candidatos para presentarse a las elecciones, mientras Rusia Unida, el partido de Putin, monopolizó las informaciones de los medios de comunicación. Se impidió hacer la mayor parte de su campaña a los activistas de la oposición y en muchos casos se los detuvo, mientras que los tribunales controlados por el Kremlin rechazaron sus reclamaciones. Hubo intimidación en gran escala para que se votara por Rusia Unida. Se impidió realizar su labor a los observadores independientes de las elecciones.

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