As I wrote in yesterday’s post, the new Russian “constitution” is a violation of the principles of Rule of Law. Only ashes remain. As we could see, Russia is now ranked as 94/128 countries with respect to Rule of Law. This deterioration of Rule of Law since Putin came to power have dire consequences for Russians.
Their rights to fair trials are gone. It is meaningless or even dangerous to appeal decisions made by the Russian authorities. And should the courts uphold the appeals or in other ways decide in favour of Russian individuals, there is always the possibility that Kremlin ignores that decision.
Spoiler: It is done. Or rather it is no more, just like the Norwegian Blue. The first presidential election that Putin won, was deemed as democratic by the OSSE, although with some remarks. Since then, every election, parliamentary or presidential have marred with election fraud, biased media coverage, and barriers preventing political competition.
And then he began his carnage on democracy. He killed the free press, murdered journalists and political opponents, abolished the judiciary’s independence, hunted civil rights activists, manipulated the elections, and fed the Russian population with lies through the media.
The new “constitution” not only makes Russia a full-blown dictatorship. It also written to justify territorial claims on countries that were part of the Soviet Union.
Yesterday’s graph showed that based on previous elections since Putin became president, the referendum is a mockery of democratic elections. This is not surprising since Putin holds democratic values and human rights in contempt. Letting people freely organise themselves in organisations where they can make their voices heard and express criticism against oppression, is threatening. This is why he’s labelled most such organisations “foreign agents”.
Other foreign agents are Olga and Ivan who read news on bbc.com and distribute that further on their blogs. Such behaviour is of course intolerable since BBC happens to be a trustworthy and impartial news entity. Putin wants to control the information space.
It has begun. Putin’s farcical referendum which was postponed due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, kicked off on the 25th of June. The referendum, which includes lotteries and promises of increased wages and pensions, will, as all elections during Putin, be fraught with fake votes, double counting, intimidating people to vote and other nefarious activities to make sure that Putin will get the result he wants. Never mind that the referendum about a new constitution is unconstitutional no matter what the rubber stamp Constitutional court expressed.
But why believe me when I warite that I believe that also this election won’t be free and fair? Let’s see what independent political scientists have said about previous Russian elections since Putin became president. In the project Varities of Democracy, (https://www.v-dem.net/en/), countries are assessed with respect to how the conditions in them are compatible with democracy. For example, are elections clean and not marred with by fraud? Can civil society organisations voice their opinions? Is there freedom of expression?