JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s ‘Little Green Men’ In Voting Booths” – Kennan Institute/ Sergey Parkhomenko
(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Sergey Parkhomenko, Senior Advisor; Journalist, “Echo of Moscow” Radio; Former Editor-in-Chief, Itogi, Vokrug Sveta – July 7, 2020)
“It took a little over 24 hours after the end of the unprecedented seven-day marathon vote on the Russian constitutional amendments for us to see what lesson to take from this plebiscite. Traditional mobilization techniques have failed to provide Vladimir Putin and his system of power with the desired level of popular support, which is at least half of the country’s electorate.
The vote that ended on July 1 makes it possible for Putin to stand for reelection in 2024, and again in 2030. At first sight, the official results seem to provide President Putin with what he so insistently wanted his administration to deliver. The turnout of 67.97 percent of voters, with 77.92 percent of ballots cast in favor of the amendments (21.27 percent opposed them) seem to constitute the magical formula of political triumph. By multiplying the figures, we get 52.96 percent of all voters supporting the amendments-the “more than one half” that Putin craved.
But independent research and polls show that to make sure the Kremlin could trumpet the longed-for support of 50 percent of the Russian electorate, Putin and his cronies still needed large-scale ballot manipulations during the day and astronomical fraud during the vote count at night.
This is exactly what Vladimir Putin demanded from his administration when he launched the constitutional reform process to strengthen and prolong his authoritarian rule. Two weeks before voting commenced, on June 12-Russia Day-he publicly stated that “the absolute majority of our citizens share and support” the amendments he had proposed, thereby presenting this claim as established fact. Russian political tradition requires that subordinates throughout the country take such statements by the supreme leader as a decree rather than a forecast. …”