Russian President Vladimir Putin today obtained the majority support of the Russians to continue in the Kremlin beyond 2024, in a constitutional plebiscite widely criticized for the lack of transparency and the exceptional sanitary conditions in which it was held due to the pandemic. of coronavirus.
With 63.5% of the votes counted, 77.2% of voters voted “yes” to the constitutional amendments proposed by Putin and the Kremlin party, according to preliminary data from the Central Election Commission (CEC).
The result of the plebiscite is almost identical to that of the 2018 presidential elections, when Putin obtained the support of 76.69% of the voters.
PUTIN, WITHOUT SUCCESSOR IN SIGHT
With this victory, Putin has his hands free to exercise two other presidential terms of six years each until 2036, which would make him one of the longest-serving leaders in Russia’s more than 1,000-year history.
Putin, who voted in his usual place, the headquarters of the Academy of Sciences on Lenin Avenue, recently stated that he has not yet decided whether to present his candidacy in four years, although he stated that “you have to work and not look for successors” .
“After Putin will come Putin,” proclaimed Viacheslav Volodin, president of the Duma or Chamber of Deputies.
MORE THAN 50 MILLION VOTED IN ADVANCE
In an unprecedented case, more than half of the voters exercised their right to vote in advance, taking advantage of the fact that the authorities opened the schools a week in advance, on June 25, to avoid crowds and a possible outbreak of COVID-19 .
According to the CEC, more than 50 million Russians went to the polls in the first six days and only a few million in today’s big day, Wednesday, a mechanism that the opposition considered a breeding ground for fraud.
The Interior Ministry reported today more than 800 complaints of irregularities, although it added that none had sufficient entity to influence the electoral results.
It is not the opinion of the opposition and of organizations like Golos, which watch over the rights of the voters. In his opinion, neither the observers nor the independent members of the electoral commissions could control the development of the vote.
Military, whose ranks voted almost 100% of its members, according to Defense; toilets and teachers; metro and construction officials and workers; Employees of factories and companies with state contracts were all forced to vote, according to the opposition and the independent press.
All in all, despite the pressures and the underground propaganda in favor of the “yes”, the participation remained at 65%.
OPPOSITION TO KREMLIN, NO ANSWER
The pandemic and the ban on campaigning left the opposition out of the game, which was divided between calls to vote against, to boycott the vote and to the non-recognition of the results of the consultation.
The Communists were the only party with parliamentary representation that rejected the constitutional reform, but faced with the impossibility of holding acts of protest for the coronavirus pandemic, they were content to denounce the risk of holding a vote when Russia is the third country in the world in number of infections.
If Moscow was the scene of the largest anti-government protests in almost a decade a year ago, a few hundred activists gathered today in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, and minor pickets occurred in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.
The only hint of rebellion were alternative ballot polls conducted by the “Niet” (No) platform in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the country’s two main cities, where “almost half of the voters” rejected the amendments, according to this move.
REFORMS IN THE FORGETTING
Although more than 200 amendments were voted, the Russians were called to the polls to approve them all as a package, which blurred the reform in what has been in practice a referendum on the figure of Putin, whose popularity is at its most popular. Low since taking power two decades ago.
With the exception of the amendment that allows Putin to exercise a fifth and sixth presidential term, the rest of the constitutional reforms are cosmetic, according to analysts.
The most commented are the annual indexation of pensions or the minimum wage above the subsistence minimum, the existence of God, the priority of national legislation over international law, the defense of heterosexual marriage or that Russia is heir to the Union Soviet.
The vote clearly staged the existing generational split in Russia, as the elders unhesitatingly supported constitutional reform, that is, Putin’s stay in power, while the youth openly rejected it.
This was especially evident in large cities, where new generations see Putin as the representative of stagnation, both economic and ideological.
“I am against absolutist czars. We need alternation. I do not know anyone who would like to support the constitutional reform,” Maxim, a 26-year-old lawyer, told Efe.
This was noted in the electronic voting, an option that was only available to the voters of Moscow and Nizhni Novgorod, since around 40% voted against.
On the other hand, for pensioners, Putin represents sacred stability, that is, the absence of political cataclysms, citizen security and the timely payment of pensions.
“Putin is the first Russian leader I am not ashamed of. And for the record, I am 80 years old. I have lived under leaders who drank heavily or were already mentally ill,” said Svetlana, an 80-year-old Muscovite.