Despite Intimidation and Ballot-Rigging, Putin's Vote Was Down From Previous Polls

03 Dec, 2007, 00:00 ET from Cato Institute

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Andrei Illarionov, Cato
 Institute Senior Fellow and former advisor to Vladimir Putin, President of
 Russia, released the following statement on Russia's parliamentary election
 held on December 2:
 
 
 
     "Russian President Vladimir Putin is celebrating his party's
 parliamentary win but in spite of the harassment of the opposition and a
 dirty campaign that used the full power of the Kremlin to achieve victory,
 Putin's vote was down significantly from previous elections.
 
 
 
     "The regime used its full political, administrative, judicial and
 financial power to pressure its political opponents. It violated massively
 the electoral laws and the Russian Constitution during the whole campaign
 including on the day of vote. It undertook massive ballot rigging around
 the country. In some regions, for example, in the Mordova Republic, the
 Putin-headed United Russia party collected more than 99 percent of the
 total vote. In one district, only five votes out of 2347 eligible votes
 were cast for the opposition.
 
 
 
     "But in spite of all of this intimidation Putin's vote dropped. In the
 2004 presidential election almost 50 million citizens voted for Vladimir
 Putin. In the 2007 parliamentary election presented to the public and
 organized by the regime as a referendum on Mr. Putin, only 43 million
 people voted for the incumbent, almost 7 million, or 14% less than 4 years
 ago.
 
 
 
     "Bearing in mind an unbelievably dirty public campaign of terrorizing
 the electorate, it is clear that the real support of the Russian president
 should be revised down -- by many millions.
 
 
 
     "The very fact that with all the might of the government machine, the
 FSB and other secret police intrusive operations, storm-trooper brigades
 harassing political opponents, Vladimir Putin nevertheless has got less
 votes than he collected in the much more competitive 2004 presidential
 election, and very probably less votes than even in the 2000 presidential
 election, is a heavy blow for him personally and his authoritarian regime.
 
 
 
     "That may well explain the heavy presence of the military and the
 intelligence services on the streets of Moscow since the official poll
 results. With support for Putin waning in reality, the Russian President
 has no other choice, if he wishes to continue as an anti-democrat, but to
 escalate the repression against political opponents and critics of his
 regime. Of course, he could elect to cease his manipulation of Russian
 politics and to step down from power when his term ends next year."
 
 
 
 
 
     The Cato Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research foundation
 dedicated to broadening policy debate consistent with the traditional
 American principles of individual liberty, limited government, free
 markets, and peace.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SOURCE Cato Institute
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Andrei Illarionov, Cato
 Institute Senior Fellow and former advisor to Vladimir Putin, President of
 Russia, released the following statement on Russia's parliamentary election
 held on December 2:
 
 
 
     "Russian President Vladimir Putin is celebrating his party's
 parliamentary win but in spite of the harassment of the opposition and a
 dirty campaign that used the full power of the Kremlin to achieve victory,
 Putin's vote was down significantly from previous elections.
 
 
 
     "The regime used its full political, administrative, judicial and
 financial power to pressure its political opponents. It violated massively
 the electoral laws and the Russian Constitution during the whole campaign
 including on the day of vote. It undertook massive ballot rigging around
 the country. In some regions, for example, in the Mordova Republic, the
 Putin-headed United Russia party collected more than 99 percent of the
 total vote. In one district, only five votes out of 2347 eligible votes
 were cast for the opposition.
 
 
 
     "But in spite of all of this intimidation Putin's vote dropped. In the
 2004 presidential election almost 50 million citizens voted for Vladimir
 Putin. In the 2007 parliamentary election presented to the public and
 organized by the regime as a referendum on Mr. Putin, only 43 million
 people voted for the incumbent, almost 7 million, or 14% less than 4 years
 ago.
 
 
 
     "Bearing in mind an unbelievably dirty public campaign of terrorizing
 the electorate, it is clear that the real support of the Russian president
 should be revised down -- by many millions.
 
 
 
     "The very fact that with all the might of the government machine, the
 FSB and other secret police intrusive operations, storm-trooper brigades
 harassing political opponents, Vladimir Putin nevertheless has got less
 votes than he collected in the much more competitive 2004 presidential
 election, and very probably less votes than even in the 2000 presidential
 election, is a heavy blow for him personally and his authoritarian regime.
 
 
 
     "That may well explain the heavy presence of the military and the
 intelligence services on the streets of Moscow since the official poll
 results. With support for Putin waning in reality, the Russian President
 has no other choice, if he wishes to continue as an anti-democrat, but to
 escalate the repression against political opponents and critics of his
 regime. Of course, he could elect to cease his manipulation of Russian
 politics and to step down from power when his term ends next year."
 
 
 
 
 
     The Cato Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research foundation
 dedicated to broadening policy debate consistent with the traditional
 American principles of individual liberty, limited government, free
 markets, and peace.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 SOURCE Cato Institute