Russian President Putin won another six year term as president in the presidential elections held on 18th March. President Putin won nearly 77 percent votes in this election. The turnout was on the higher side at 67 percent. President Putin once again showed that he is still in full control of the situation and faced no serious challenge from the opposition. The divided and weak opposition failed to impress with results. The main liberal opposition figure Alexei Navalny was barred from contesting the elections.
Now Putin will be a legitimate president till 2024. This is not good news for the western powers that wants to see a change in Russia. The West showed cold response to his landslide victory. The problem with the powers like U.S, Britain, France and Germany is that they want to see a weak and pro-west leader in Russia. They were hoping to get someone like Yeltsin after his exit. But Yeltsin was replaced by former KGB guy Putin. His rise became a constant headache for the western powers.
As the Kremlin largely chose who was allowed to run, it was voter turnout and the rate of support that mattered. While some old tactics were used to increase the voter turnout, (such as cheap delicacies sold at the polls) it still appears that Putin got a solid mandate from the Russian people, and it is important to understand why.
The West told us that they oppose Putin because he is authoritarian and ruthless dictator who has no respect for democratic and human rights. They told us that Putin is not ready to organise free, democratic and transparent elections. He is not ready to give freedom of press, expression and political rights to the people. But the same west never opposes the Saudi regime and Egyptian president on the same grounds. The west uses democracy and human rights as a tool to destabilise the regimes that oppose the western hegemony. The West feels no problem to work with the ruthless dictators if the dictators accept to serve their interests.
The West opposes Putin for different reasons. It is important to understand the reasons of mounting tensions that could jeopardised the world relations and peace. So here we will examine in brief the reasons of this tense relationship.
First of all, he restored the Russian pride, power and prestige. He challenged the western hegemony not only in his own backyard but also in the Middle East. The West tried to tame him and even tried to remove him but failed. Second, he turns around the Russian economy within a short period of time. He restored the confidence that Russians lost during the Yeltsin years.
It is no surprise that his victory has intensified the already existing tensions between Russia and Western powers. The U.S and British governments have expelled 100 Russian diplomats from both countries and now Russia will react in the same way. The Western governments want to put maximum pressure on Russia to give up resistance and accept western hegemony and supremacy. Both Russia and West are fighting for the influence over Eastern Europe and central Asian republics. This battle will intensify in the coming period.
The most recent western propaganda campaign and one of the most virulent is the charge launched by the UK regime of Prime Minister Theresa May. The British government has claimed that Russian secret agents conspired to poison a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in England, threatening the sovereignty and safety of the British people. No evidence has ever been presented. Instead the UK expelled Russian diplomats and demands harsher sanctions, to increase tensions. The UK and its US and EU patrons are moving toward a break in relations and a military build-up.
First and foremost, during the 1990’s the US degraded Russia, reducing it to a vassal state, and imposing itself as a unipolar state.
Secondly, Western elites pillaged the Russian economy, seizing and laundering hundreds of billions of dollars. Wall Street and City of London banks and overseas tax havens were the main beneficiaries
Thirdly, the US seized and took control of the Russian electoral process, and secured the fraudulent “election” of Yeltsin.
Fourthly, the West degraded Russia’s military and scientific institutions and advanced their armed forces to Russia’s borders.
Fifthly, the West insured that Russia was unable to support its allies and independent governments throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Russia was unable to aid its allies in the Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Libya etc.
With the collapse of the Yeltsin regime and the election of President Putin, Russia regained its sovereignty, its economy recovered; its armed forces and scientific institutes were rebuilt and strengthened. Poverty was sharply reduced and Western backed gangster capitalists were constrained, jailed or fled mostly to the UK and the US.
Russia’s historic recovery under President Putin and its gradual international influence shattered US pretence to rule over unipolar world. Russia’s recovery and control of its economic resources lessened US dominance, especially of its oil and gas fields.
As Russia consolidated its sovereignty and advanced economically, socially, politically and militarily, the West increased its hostility in an effort to roll-back Russia to the weaker position of the 1990’s.
Nevertheless, the majority of Russians — 77 percent — voted for Putin. In addition, 12 percent of voters supported Stalinist/communist agricultural businessman Pavel Grudinin, and 6 percent voted for imperialist, ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Thus, 95 percent of Russians rejected the pro-Western, liberal approach, which makes any kind of rapprochement difficult.
Putin’s assertion that the collapse of the USSR was a “geopolitical catastrophe” resonates with both the elites and the masses. The “It” girl, Ksenia Sobchak, and a veteran economist Grigory Yavlinsky — the two most liberal of the candidates running against Putin — collectively won less votes than the margin of error.
This means friction with NATO and the U.S. will continue for the foreseeable future in Europe from the Arctic to the Black Sea, and in the Syrian powder keg. Moscow will also support Tehran in a possible future confrontation with the U.S.
Putin wants “respect” for Russia, and a new accommodation with the West, possibly in the form of a “Yalta II” deal, in which new spheres of influence are delineated. However, it is unlikely that the collective West will be ready and willing to grant him that.
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