There is no doubt that the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is worried about the September 17-19 elections to the Russian House of Representatives, Duma. The ruling United Russia’s support is less than 30% nationwide, about 15% in Moscow, and Putin’s personal popularity is declining, so the new parliament secures a constitutional majority of
There is no doubt that the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is worried about the September 17-19 elections to the Russian House of Representatives, Duma.
The ruling United Russia’s support is less than 30% nationwide, about 15% in Moscow, and Putin’s personal popularity is declining, so the new parliament secures a constitutional majority of two-thirds. It can be a difficult order to do.
“They are facing difficult challenges,” said Maria Snegobaya, a political analyst at Georgetown University.
But observers say the ongoing crackdowns across Russia appear to be far more extensive than simply requiring to manage elections. It is intended for historians and other scholars. Targeting artists and theaters. It is intended for lawyers and research journalists who have little direct connection to the next vote.
“We can’t say that this oppressive cycle will end after the election,” Snegobaya added. Elections aren’t the only reason, even though the Kremlin fears it won’t get the results it needs. It is the nature of the administration itself and is turning into a much more oppressive dictatorship.
But elections seem to be the focus of government attention.For months, officials across the country, especially Win a seat in the local council In the last three years of elections.
Related: Russian opposition politician Lev Shlosberg bans elections
In addition, authorities have revised the national election law at least 19 times since the last election, according to Goros’ election monitoring NGO.
“This is an amazing number,” Snegovaya told RFE / RL’s Russian service. “We’ve never seen anything like that, even taking into account the fact that previous elections aren’t free and honest, but that wasn’t enough for the Kremlin. They introduced a three-day vote, which increases the chances of tampering. They brought a completely opaque electronic ballot, and now they have candidates who have even minimal popularity. Exclude.
At the authority crosshair
Nevertheless, much of the government’s efforts seem to have little or no relation to the next vote. Security agencies, for example, appear to have paid much attention to organizations and individuals who have worked to reveal historical crimes and the current excesses of those agencies themselves. Karelia’s historian Yury Dmitriev specializes in recording Stalin-era mass graves in his area and has been crucified by authorities for many years.
Related: Russian historian sentenced to 13 years in prison, promised to “continue fighting” for justice
Commanda 29, a St. Petersburg-based legal defense organization, tried to open the United States Marshals Service last month after its lawyer called it a “many-planned assault” by security agencies. Closed himself for the sake of. FSB) Archive to prevent prosecutors from misusing espionage and secrecy law for political purposes.
The government closed the Dosye (Dossier) Research Journalism Project and the Gulagu.net website last week. Gulagu.net reports allegations of torture and ill-treatment in prisons and pre-trial detention facilities.
“This is about reports of FSB misconduct,” said Maxim Dover, a former oil tycoon spokesman who banished Putin’s opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “This is a large document with hundreds of pages …. Security service illicit activity is the focus of our attention. I’m talking about FSB, GRU. [military intelligence service], And SVR [foreign intelligence service].. There is plenty of material on these topics. “
Vladimir Osechkin, founder of Gulagu.net, left Russia under pressure from authorities in 2015 and continues to carry out projects abroad, telling RFE / RL, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FSIN), especially he. He said he has been targeting his projects for many years since he left. Russia.
“The longer I worked with relatively safe and less interference from the Russian authorities, the more information was sent in my way,” he said. “We have begun to obtain information not only from relatives of prisoners, former prisoners, and current prisoners, but also from active employees of the FSIN, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Many disagree. Especially last year, I was overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and even had access to the video archives of FSIN offices in some regions.
See also: “Many Planned Assaults”: Russian Commander 29 Shutter, said it was too “dangerous” to continue
Mr Snegobaya said the Putin administration no longer feels it needed to maintain a democratic veneer to get along with the West.
“The international community is not in a position to respond appropriately to the actions of the Russian government,” she said. Even after a huge addiction [opposition politician Aleksei] Navalny, there was no proper response. There weren’t even so severe sanctions. The administration was reborn in a more severe form, and the mask was abandoned.
“I can’t stand it anymore”
At the same time, many in the government (perhaps Putin himself) are in an undeclared “hybrid” war between Russia and the West, threatening the fifth row of “foreign agents.” She added that she truly believed that she was. Their safety through theaters, schools, media and more.
Russia is “dominated by certain types of people who maintain the Soviet idea that the West is a threat to them and is trying every possible means of harming them,” she said. Insisted.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)
Valerie Solovey, a Moscow-based political analyst, said that one of Putin’s inner circles to this explanation is Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Security Council.
“Patrushev formulates a strategy, presents it to the president, who confirms it,” he told RFE / RL. “And the essence of that strategy is very simple-it’s clear that the main thing is not tolerate any threat to the administration.”
According to Snegobaya, the Kremlin is certainly looking beyond the Duma elections in September to the end of Putin’s current term in 2024.
“All explanations are that when the Constitution was amended in 2020, Putin was decided to retain power for life,” Snegobaya told RFE / RL. ‘Then a conclusion was drawn.The need to win an event in Belarus [Duma] Elections played a role at all costs.
“It was decided not to suppress anything anymore, as we did in the past,” she concludes.
Written by RFE / RL Senior Correspondent Robert Coulson based on a report from Moscow by RFE / RL Russian Correspondents Moomin Shakirov and Oleksandra Wagner.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE / RL, Inc. Reissued with permission from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC20036
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