According to the BBC, the Telegraph, the Huffington Post, and just about every respectable news source, the recent parliamentary elections in Russia were flawed, seriously flawed. According to OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) problems included ballot box stuffing. I don’t know if voter intimidation was included in the problems, but why bother poking people with bayonets when you just stuffing the ballot boxes anyway? In the final count, Putin’s United Russia Party maintained a slim majority in the country’s Duma.
Putin’s knee-jerk response to the outrage is to blame the U.S. The Russian President, Medvedev insists that the elections were “free and fair.” I guess being Putin’s puppet is a decent job in post-Communist Russia. On Tuesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded angrily to comments Mrs. Clinton made about the conduct of the elections during an OSCE meeting in Lithuania.
“This is not Hyde Park, this is not Triumfalnaya [Triumphal] Square in Moscow, where speakers arrive to pour out their soul and then turn around and leave, not listening to others. –Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
Despite attempts to bring Russia into the community of nations, Putin, a former KGB agent in East Germany, prefers to rely on Communist-era rhetoric to rally his followers. I applaud the Obama administration for not kowtowing to Putin’s thuggery. Secretary of State Clinton has on more than one occasion denounced this rigged election. Putin will be running for president again, after a hiatus as Prime Minister. Russia’s tissue thin constitution forbids more than two consecutive terms as president. Well, we’ve seen how Vlad got around that one. He put a puppet in his place as president, as a place holder, until he can run again and sit in the presidential seat for two more terms. Vladimir Putin is well on his way to becoming Stalin II. Stalin was a butcher of his own people on a massive scale, so let’s call Vladimir Stalin 2.0, or Stalin Lite. That’s because Vladimir Putin targets his enemies and with laser pinpoint accuracy murders them with slow and horrible poisons. He copies Stalin in killing his assassins by using methods that poison the poisoner as well as the intended victim; such as radioactive compounds. Sometimes he resorts to old fashioned methods, as in the case of Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot in the back of the head as she was leaving her apartment. Her poor daughter was an unfortunate witness.
Of the hundreds that have been arrested in street protests in Moscow, and other major cities such as St. Petersburg, how many will have their life-spans shortened by a decade or two? Please watch the video at the top of this post to see how open protest is dealt with in Russia. I can’t help but compare the actions with the police in several major American cities in response to the Occupy movement. But that’s a story for another post- a compare and contrast of police-state activity in Russia and the U.S.
Golos, the only Russian organization that tried to monitor the elections is under the gun now. Golos leader Liliya Shibanova was held by customs officers at Sheremetyevo Airport after returning from a trip abroad on the eve of the election. If I were a member of Golos (which means “voice” in Russian and can be construed to mean “vote”) I would quit and move to Sweden. But that just cowardly me. I have a strong sense of self-preservation.