Vladimir Putin

Trouble ahead in Putin’s Russia?

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This month’s election will likely see Putin returned to office for another term. Robert Behan looks at the prospects of genuine opposition — from right and left.

The presidential elections in Russia this month will see the continuation of Putin’s rule in Russia for another six years. Such has been Putin’s grip over the Russian political institutions and the media throughout his reign that any other result would be unthinkable.

Mismanaged democracy

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Events in Russia have a habit of proving people wrong. The oil boom allowed Vladimir Putin to re-establish a degree of order and to make Russia a "managed democracy". Now it looks more like a mismanaged one as economic crisis has undermined Putin's appeal and made the cronyism and corruption look even less acceptable.

The announcement of the stitch-up that would allow Putin to become president again in 2012 - and probably to stay on to 2024 - was greeted with huge cynicism. But only a few hundred went to a token demonstration in Moscow in September. No one really expected that by December tens of thousands would be protesting against electoral fraud in elections to the Duma (the Russian parliament) that were supposed to be a dry run for the presidential ones next spring.

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