Russia will be voting for the country’s new president on Sunday, March 4, 2012.
Because of the Russian electoral rules, one cannot use poll numbers several days before the elections. Currently in effect: moratorium on promoting specific candidates to avoid influencing the voters.
As a reminder to my readers, I do not belong to any political party and consider myself a political atheist. My analysis is based on observation, logic, intuition and the Ancient Chinese System of Long Cycles (CSLC).
The Russian political scene is changing rapidly as a record number of citizens take part in protests and demonstrations, both for and against various candidates. Historically speaking, this level of activism is unusual for Russia. Well, apart from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the 1990-93 USSR dissolution period. Most other times in Russian history, the population wasn’t that active politically.
Russian protests differ substantially from the Arab Spring, US Occupy movement, Greek, Spanish, British and other European protests, because they are NOT economically driven. Russians have not experienced a cut in pay or unemployment. In fact, salaries and standard of living have been steadily and substantially rising for the past decade. This activism is driven by a desire to see more change, better and faster reforms, as well as ‘the Putin fatigue.’ As one commentator put it, “It’s media fatigue: people are tired of seeing Putin’s face all over the news.”
I do want to point out that my analysis, based on CSLC, indicates that social and political activism around the world will keep intensifying during this decade. This is true not only for Russia, but for the vast majority of countries, including most of Europe, USA, the Middle East and Asia, as well as – perhaps, to a lesser degree – Latin America, Africa and Australia.
Due to allegations of fraud and ballot stuffing during 2011 Duma (Russian Parliament) elections, over 30,000 Russians have signed up to be anti-fraud monitors during Presidential elections on March 4, 2012.
This year, 5 candidates are eligible to run for the Russian presidency. The remaining contenders were unable to collect the number of signatures required to run.
The winning candidate must receive over 50% of the popular vote or face second round run-off against 2nd place candidate.
Vladimir Putin (Center: Ruling United Russia Party).
Russian President, 2000-2008. Current Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. Still, by far the most popular politician in Russia. United Russia had suffered a substantial “defeat” during 2011 Duma elections. Well, if you consider a defeat getting 49.5% of the votes. But it was a step down from their usual 60-70% approval rate. Besides, they needed 50% in order to maintain a constitutional majority in the Duma. In that sense, the result was quite disappointing.
Putin may have lost some of his support among the more affluent population of Moscow, who ironically benefited most from his and United Russia policies in the past 12 years. But he gained support in the Russian regions. He’s widely projected to win, even by his opponents and detractors. Putin is very feared by the U.S. and some other Western governments, yet supported by most world governments, as well as the international investment community. International investors, as well as the Russian majority, seek stability. And they know, Putin is the only one who can deliver that.
For Putin, it is not as much the issue of winning. It is more how he wins. He needs clean, beyond reproach elections; and a win in the first round to avoid compromising his substantial clout in Russia and abroad.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Right/Nationalist: Liberal Democrats).
Speaker of the lower house of the Duma. An old timer in the Russian politics who’s been around since Yeltsin; may have lost some of his original base, but is still popular amongst the young males, especially in the Russian regions. Famous for his loud and often scandalous speeches and behavior, Zhirinovsky enjoys a staunch support base because he often says what others don’t dare due to political correctness.
Gennady Zyuganov (Far left: Communist Party).
The Communists have enjoyed a substantial increase in support in the past year. Nostalgia for the good, old Soviet Union days and low pensions for retirees have aided in Zyuganov’s popularity. Communist party is a very hands-on grassroots organization, members of which go door to door and help each other, as well as the needy, according to the old Soviet tradition. Which also explains the rise in popularity.
Party’s weakness: the Communists have never been good at accounting. To this day, it’s unclear where the money for all the social reforms they are proposing (essentially, the rollback to the Soviet Union) will come from.
Sergey Mironov (Center Left: Fair Russia Party, aka, A Just Russia Party).
Chairman of the Russian Federation Council 2001 – 2011, the Upper House of the Duma. Fair Russia Party has appeal among those voters who are not quite communists, but who would like more social security and government controls. Also, among those who are not quite center.
Mironov has repeatedly proposed an amendment to the Russian constitution that would allow the President to be elected for 3 consecutive 5 or 7 year terms. In 2007, Boris Gryzlov, leader of the rival United Russia party, said that changing the constitution would be unacceptable. Mironov is considered to be more socialism oriented, as he wants to set up special agricultural exchanges for state purchases of agricultural goods and introduce government intervention in regulating prices of basic food stuffs.
Mikhail Prokhorov (Independent).
Russian oligarch, billionaire, Forbes 400, Owner of the NY Mets. The only candidate not backed by a party. He commands quite a presence and towers over everyone in the room at close to 7′ of height. Prokhorov has a pro-business platform and enjoys some support among the rich, the business people and the affluent. Most likely, a negligible factor in these elections.
Based on the current dynamic situation, I will be upgrading my Year 2012 Predictions for the Russian elections. Read an update tomorrow – right here, on Lada Ray Blog.
Read the original Lada Ray Year 2012 Predicions!
Watch interesting debate - CrossTalk: Russia Votes
Copyright 2012, Lada Ray