2007 October 02 Tuesday
Putin Arranging To Hold Onto Power In Russia

Vladimir Putin is going to depart of the office of President in Russia but he's not going to give up power.

It has long been assumed that President Vladimir Putin, whose term of office expires next March, would prefer to remain in power. But how he might try to do so while operating within the terms of Russia's constitution has been a source of endless speculation. On Monday, Putin provided what may be the answer, when he announced that he would head the list of the ruling United Russia (UR) party in December's election to the Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament.

From his position in Parliament (and his party is expected to win by a landslide) Putin will most likely get himself appointed Prime Minister. Also, he'll choose a Presidential candidate who will accept a subordinate position and take his orders from Putin.

Some might think that this is democracy and democracy is good. Um, well, since Russia's voters can't watch independent TV news shows and since large chunks of the print media are also under control of Putin's allies it is not like the voters can know much about what is really going on or why they might want to vote for an opponent of Putin. Plus, simple majorities are not imbued with great wisdom and America's Founding Fathers make special provisions in the design of the US constitution to try to at least partially compensate for that fact. Democratic dictatorship is a real phenomenon. It is a bigger problem in societies such as in Russia where the majority doesn't feel strong support for a free society. Also, the Russians aren't big on what is called social capital. They don't form lots of independent organizations that serve as checks on government.

What I want to know: When Russian oil production starts declining at a moderately rapid rate, energy costs rise for keeping warm in those cold Russian winters, and living standards drop what will the Russian people think of their elected dictatorship and what, if anything, will they do in response?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 October 02 06:10 PM  Russia

Wolf-Dog said at October 2, 2007 9:25 PM:

Apparently Russia also started a new Nuclear Power rejuvenation program, with new designs and plans to build these new designs. Additionally, Russia even has plans to export a lot of nuclear power plants to many developing nations. One thing is sure: the US must hurry in order to expand the nuclear energy before the electric cars are ready in 10 years.

daveg said at October 3, 2007 6:18 AM:

I think Putin is doing a good job. They people like him, overwhelmingly.

He hasn't stolen the countries assets and moved to Israel or England.

That is an improvement for Russia.

Michael Lyubomirskiy said at October 3, 2007 7:45 PM:

for people not directly familiar with Russian politics I think it is hard to appreciate that Putin's greatest asset is "the only game in town". There simply are no contenders that look remotely capable of running the government. The opposition are either insane fascists/Communists mixed in various degrees or true believer "Democrats" whom the electorate views, probably correctly, as having nothing else to offer but their ideology (which of course is very much in doubt in Russia). Kind of like Democratic opposition in America - some of them radical nutcases, some nicely sounding true believers in reasonably accepted doctrines, but none actually the people you would want to run the government. And when you do not have real opposition, factions like Putin, or like our very own Bush, can grab power and do what they want with it.

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