The certainty surrounding Vladimir Putin’s presidential victory has once again led to widespread allegations that the vote was a fix.
So much so, some in Brussels believe the result shows elections in Russia ultimately have very little real significance.
‘‘How can Stalin’s overwhelming support be explained? He got 100% of the votes. It’s the same today. Just like Soviet times, Russia doesn’t have an election – only selection,’‘ Lithunia’s former head of state and now MEP, Vytautas Landsbergis said.
Despite allegations of vote rigging Putin’s supporters insist he was the overwhelming choice of the people and is not what many see as Russia’s new Tsar.
‘Putin embodies what Russian people value the most. He restored Russia’s status and power. In fact the reason for the high election turn out, is due to the recent protests. These anti-government rallies served as a wake-up call for Putin’s supporters,’‘ Sergei Petrosov, head of the group
European Russian Community, said.
Nevertheless, some MEPs in Brussels remain deeply concerned about Russia’s drift to authoritarianism and the increasingly anti-Western tone used by Vladimir Putin. Sir Graham Watson, the President of the European Parliament’s Liberal group, told euronews the result in Russia was troubling and did not exclude some form of political revolution in the future.
‘‘I think it is very worrying. They are (the elections) not legitimate. Firstly, because Putin has used a trick. A trick of stepping down and being prime minister for a while and then coming back into the presidency. That’s not what the constitution intended. But I’ve been also worried because all of the reports that we hear from all of the other parties say this was not a fair election. How it was rigged is hard to say. It may have been rigged in different ways, in different places, but the process started before a single vote was cast with the new laws on the registration of political parties, for example.’‘
To see the full interview with Sir Graham Watson, please click on the link above.