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Election fraud Russia United Russia Vladimir Putin Commentary Poland

Putin cements hold over Russian parliament

A three-day-long voting period has resulted in the formation of a parliament completely dominated by the United Russia party, which is entirely subjected to the executive branch, writes senior foreign correspondent Andrzej Łomanowski

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Andrzej Łomanowski

Given the unpopularity of the “party of power” in Russian society, it is a given that United Russia’s good results are due to incredible, nearly perfected, election rigging. The scale of this fraud will be revealed only months after the voting itself (and only partially so). This means that it will not significantly influence the situation in the country.

Some experts warn that anger in Russian society is growing. Current tensions were strengthened by many days of voting, during which information about audacious levels of fraud was constantly being revealed (despite the censorship of the internet). What used to take one day — such as in 2010 and 2011, when rigging elections led to massive protests — now reached Russians over the course of three.

Yet, nothing points towards this disdain for the government taking on some clear form, such as street protests. The “institutions for law and order” make sure that there is peace and calm in Russia. There has not been such an intelligently conducted campaign of mass repression in Russia for years. The first comparison which comes to mind is the KGB’s destruction of the dissident movement in the early 1980s, which was, unfortunately, just as coldly efficient.

The difference today is that a larger group of people who were engaged with political and social activity have managed to escape abroad, while only a minority goes to prison.

Yet, the result is the same – opposition activity dies out.

Soon, a new parliament will be cultivated in this social desert, but it will be no different from the previous one. Its main goal will be to survive until 2024 when Putin’s current term will end and his next years in the Kremlin will be legitimized (or those of his successor but that is less likely).

What adventures await us with this triumphant Putinism? They will most definitely not spare us silly comments concerning the “liberational role of the Red Army” during the Second World War and so on.

Now, however, we will have to be much more careful as the prices of gas and oil will keep growing over the next few years, which in turn will lead to yet another ego trip stemming from “success” within the Kremlin.