President Vladimir Putin, the Great Czar of Eurasia is Back - March, 2012

Humanity can again breathe a sigh of relief for the great Czar of Eurasia is back in power. The great son of the great Russian nation has been returned to his rightful place. In what turned out to be a landslide victory, Vladimir Putin has again been elected president of the Russian Federation and his rabid enemies worldwide are taking note. The soft approach the Kremlin had flirted with for the past four years under the leadership of President Dmitri Medvedev has effectively come to an end. This decade promises to be Vladimir Putin's decade. And despite the chorus of silly complaints and temper-tantrums by the political West, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank God that President Vladimir Putin is officially back at the helm in the Kremlin -

Escobar: Putin not part of NWO, labelled evil by elites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YY7tFfxT5w
Salbuchi: Putin a break against neo-colonial West: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbB4GBTe2GM
Before the leadership of a developing country such as Russia (and Armenia) is capable to allowing their citizenry to participate in nation's political processes, political system in the country first needs to develop well established national institutions and domestically funded political parties that are subservient to them. A nation cannot risk playing with the notion of democracy when a nation is politically immature, does not have a democratic tradition or lacks powerful national institutions. In fact, powerful national institutions overseeing and sometimes guiding the democratic process in a political system is exactly how the Western world is currently run. Therefore, in their transitional phase, developing nations need powerful leaders with courage and vision. I hope to see nations such as Russia eventually begin moving away from personality-based political movements, regardless of the attributes of the personality, and being supporting ideology-based political movements operating fully under the umbrella of well-rooted national institutions. Until that day arrives, however, we need men like Vladimir Putin in power.

Amidst the literally thousands of deeply biased or downright hostile news coverage of Vladimir Putin's presidential bid by the Western press (at the bottom of this page I have posted two such examples), I found merely three that were relatively speaking nuanced. Despite their now standard Western style political spin and utter negativity, the featured news reports from ArmeniaNow, New York Times and BBC reluctantly admitted the not so convenient truth. ArmeniaNow, the Washington-led propaganda outlet in Armenia, reluctantly states that Russian-Armenians strongly favor Putin. Despite all the snide comments, the New York Times reluctantly admits that Putin enjoys grassroots support inside Russia. And while desperately trying to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the voting process and Putin's actual popularity amongst Russians, the state-funded BBC of Britain nevertheless admits that exist polls indicated an astounding 60% percent of the votes went to Putin.
The three noted articles can be read following the initial RT article following this commentary.

At a time when democratic values in the United States are gradually eroding away, a mature political process is gradually beginning to take root in the Russian Federation. This election was one of the most colorful and dynamic political contests in recent times. As the five very different presidential candidates enthusiastically sparred against each other, around 400 million dollars were spent, hundreds of thousands of people were employed and nearly one hundred thousand video cameras were installed at polling stations simply to monitor the election process. Russians are clearly becoming politically activated and an overwhelming majority of them have begun rediscovering their national dignity. Simply put, what we have been seeing in recent months is Russia's coming of age.


When I looked at Putin's eyes I saw tears -


Teary-eyed Putin addresses 110,000 crowd near Kremlin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbqJg88UEBo

Is Russia's hitherto steely Czar becoming somewhat softer? Perhaps the emotions were genuine; the man does truly cares for his nation and this election was hotly contested. Putin's tears, however, could also very well have been contrived. After all, the man does have a KGB background. If the emotions were in fact contrived, it would actually be a better sign as far as I'm concerned because it would mean that Putin has learned well from his American counterparts. Similar to what the political establishment in the United States has been able to do so effectively for so many generations, Russia's political establishment also needs to develop ways of appealing to the emotions and sentiments of not only of its citizenry but also to that of the rest of the world's.

What deeply impressed me about this presidential election was that approximately 90% of the Russian vote were shared by Vladimir Putin, the nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Communist party. In other words, an overwhelming majority
of Russia's population today supports a government that is top heavy, conservative and Russo-centric. And faced with a terrible defeat, Russia's Western-led opposition clowns are crying McFaul! 


Armenia's Qaj Nazars, as well as its pathetic Russophobes, should be deriving some lessons from Russians. Although I am not particularity fond of the sociopolitical experiment called "democracy", I do, however, realize that limited forms of it can be safely practiced by mature, well-educated societies with well-established national institutions. Until Armenians educate themselves about the political world they live in and until Armenia establishes well-rooted national institutions, Armenia can do without democracy. As a result of recent events in Libya and Syria, perhaps Armenia's sheeple will finally begin waking-up to what "democracy" as prescribed by the political West really means. Nevertheless, as we clearly saw from the events of March 1, 2008 in Armenia, unbridled democracy for an immature nation suffering from Asiatic ailments can be suicidal. Until it is mature enough to become a top heavy democracy like Russia, Armenia needs a strongman with a patriotic vision. The following comment by a Russian technical school director accused of "corruption" by Western-led activists summarizes in one simple sentence why Russia has been, is and will continue being a powerful nation -

“We need to submit to one commander in chief, like in the army. Someone commands, and like soldiers we follow.” - Olga Klubnichkina

Towards the bottom of this page I have posted a commentary written by Edmond Azadian of the Armenian Mirror Spectator. I was pleasantly surprised by his work. In a clear departure from his previous Russophobia, it now seems that Mr. Azadian may have finally begun seeing the light and is approaching Russian-Armenian relations in a rational manner. I must say, this is a remarkable achievement for an American-Armenian. Perhaps Mr. Azadian has been reading my blog commentaries regarding illusions of democracy, the crucial importance of Russian-Armenian relations and the biblical importance of the rise of Russia in global affairs.
 

Finally, as mentioned above, the Western press has been littered with literally thousands of hostile news reports, commentaries and Op-Eds pieces about Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. The two articles appearing at the bottom of this page are good examples of the type of vicious political attacks carried-out by the Western press against targeted nations. The two news reports in question are by very "reputable" news organizations, CNN and Wall Street Journal. Please read them. Virtually every single sentence, every single thought, every single insinuation is meant to cast doubt, attack and ridicule. The relentless attacks we see against Putin accurately reveals the vile character and low-caliber of Western journalism today. The bias, the hypocrisy, the negativity and the hostility are all so egregious, so ubiquitous and so well-organized in the Western press that it must be originating from a single source.

The press in the West no longer reports news, they simply create news as it is prescribed by senior officials in Washington, London and Tel Aviv. And the concoctions they produce is toxic to humanity and this poison of theirs is unwittingly drunk by tens-of-millions of people around the world. Western journalists and correspondents need to be considered combatants because their recent work have tended to be more destructive than Western bombs.


Arevordi
March, 2012


***

‘We Won!’ Teary-Eyed Putin Proclaims Victory

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Vladimir Putin, set to win a third presidential term, declared his victory and thanked his voters for their support. Polling at over 64 percent with over half of the votes counted, victory seems assured. "We have won in an open and fair struggle," Putin said addressing 110,000 people, who gathered on Manezhnaya Square outside the Kremlin walls. He stressed that this victory signals a defeat for those who want to destroy Russia.

This was more than just a presidential election this was a very important test for us – a test for political maturity of our people and independence. We have demonstrated that nobody can impose anything on us we have shown that our people are capable of telling the difference between the desire for novelty and progress from political provocations that pressure with only one goal – to destroy Russia. Today our people have proved that such scenarios are not going to work in our country,” Putin said. "We will work honestly and intensely and we will achieve success we encourage you all to unite for the benefit of our or nation and out homeland."

Putin, who is likely to win the election with over 60 per cent of the vote, appeared on stage with outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, who also thanked all of Putin’s supporters. “Thank you all for supporting our candidate. We all needed this victory our country needed it each one of needs this victory we will not give it away to anybody,” the president said. In 2008, when Dmitry Medvedev won the presidential race, they also came out together to give speeches.

Speaking to his supporters, Vladimir Putin had tears in his eyes. This sparked an online frenzy, with many bloggers crestfallen with what was perceived as an emotional reaction, while others accused Putin of crying over an "evil triumph." Putin later said the cold wind had made his eyes water. “It was windy, windy it was,” he told journalists, arriving at his headquarters.

Source: http://rt.com/news/putin-win-supporters-speech-827/

BBC: Putin 'Elected Russian President'

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Exit polls and preliminary results gave him about 60% of the vote. Mr Putin told supporters at a rally in central Moscow they had won in an open and honest battle. But opposition groups have reported widespread fraud, with many people said to have voted more than once. They have called for mass protests in central Moscow on Monday. Meanwhile tens of thousands of supporters of Mr Putin gathered with Russian flags and banners outside the Kremlin for a concert to celebrate his victory. Making a brief appearance with current President Dmitry Medvedev, Mr Putin thanked his supporters from "every corner" of the country.

"I promised you we would win, and we won," he said, with tears in his eyes. "Glory to Russia!" "We have won in an open and honest battle. "We proved that no-one can force anything on us." Slogans on the banner included "Putin - our president" and "We believe in Putin", but there were indications that some participants had been ordered to attend. There is tight security in the city, with 6,000 extra police brought in from outside.

High turnout

The electoral commission showed preliminary results, with more than 37% of districts counted, showing Mr Putin gaining over 63%, enough to give him a first-round victory over nearest rival Gennady Zyuganov, with 17%. The other three candidates were in single digits. In a news conference after the polls closed, Mr Zyuganov described the elections as "unfair and unworthy".

But he said that with increasing public anger, Mr Putin "would not be able to rule like he used to". "These elections cannot be considered legitimate in any way," said Vladimir Ryzhkov, one of the leaders of the street protest movement, which was not represented in the election. Meanwhile Mr Putin's campaign chief Stanislav Govorukhin described the poll as "the cleanest in Russian history". The turnout was 58.3% by 18:00 Moscow time (14:00 GMT), considerably higher than in 2008 elections. Electoral officials forecast a final turnout of 62.3%.

The election was held against a backdrop of popular discontent, sparked by allegations of widespread fraud during December's parliamentary elections in favour of Mr Putin's United Russia party. Observer organisations said there had been thousands of violations including so-called carousel voting, with busloads of voters being driven around to different polling stations. The alleged fraud came despite the presence of thousands of independent observers and web cameras at polling stations.
Opposition blogger and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny told the BBC: "Grandiose scale of falsifications, especially in Moscow... mass use of carousel voting."

Source:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17252190

New York Times: Fear of Return to ’90s Hardship Fuels Support for Putin


It takes little more than a half-hour train ride from Moscow and a few hours walking the muddy streets of this raw, working-class suburb to get a sense of why Vladimir V. Putin will almost certainly win Russia’s presidential election on Sunday. It takes little more than a half-hour train ride from Moscow and a few hours walking the muddy streets of this raw, working-class suburb to get a sense of why Vladimir V. Putin will almost certainly win Russia’s presidential election on Sunday.

Stepping off the train, you arrive in what residents of the capital call “the rest of Russia.” There are no skyscrapers or 10-lane highways. Instead of heading to trendy sushi bars or coffee shops with free Wi-Fi after work, residents grab a greasy sausage and a beer from a kiosk as they head home, being careful to avoid the child-size potholes in the road.

Interviewed here in recent days, few said they were doing well. But for many here in Lyubertsy and other hardscrabble towns across Russia, any desire to live better is outweighed by a persistent fear of living worse. And there is no guarantee that things will remain on track without Mr. Putin at the helm.
“We will stay in one place or return to the old, terrifying days of the 1990s,” Lyudmila Kisilyova, a 60-year-old pensioner, said when asked what would happen if Mr. Putin lost the election. “There is a huge difference today in comparison with those days. There was no work, there was nothing. The stores were empty, and it was a terrifying time to live. “I can’t say that everything is great today: Pensions are small, and we’re scared about the future of our children,” she said. “But life is better than in the 1990s.”

It is a sentiment that these days sounds alien in Moscow, where Mr. Putin has faced a challenge from a boisterous, though largely isolated, movement of urban elites whose ambitions and self-regard have outgrown the rigid confines of his rule. Those elites are not Mr. Putin’s constituents, and he has done little to court them. Rather, he seems keenly aware that his electoral success is linked less to a desire for progress than to a fear of backsliding.

Since announcing in September that he, not Russia’s current president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, would be running in Sunday’s election, he has repeatedly sought to remind Russians of the hardships they suffered in the years before he took power.

“Under the flag of democracy, in the 1990s we received not a modern government, but an opaque fight among clans and numerous semifeudal fiefdoms,” he wrote in an opinion article last month. “We received not a new quality of life, but huge social costs; not a just and free society, but the highhandedness of a self-appointed elite, who openly neglected the interests of simple people.”

In a televised appearance shortly after he announced his return last year, he warned that stability in Russia was hanging by a thread. “It is enough to take two or three incorrect steps and all that came before could overcome us before we know it,” he said.

This sense of teetering on the edge is particularly acute here in Lyubertsy, a town with 172,000 people, a helicopter factory and the unfortunate distinction of being a birthplace of the Russian mob. In the waning days of the Soviet Union, criminal gangs of amateur bodybuilders called kachki held the city hostage, residents said. On their days off they would take the commuter train into Moscow and pummel the fashionable youth there for sport.

These days, the gangs have been mostly brought to heel, their leaders jailed, dead or, as some locals said, working in government. Stores are filled with affordable clothing, furniture and food, and there are several tidy parks and a modern basketball arena for the Lyubertsy Triumph, whose record this season is 30-14.

Most said they were aware of the recent protests in Moscow. But they had little good to say about them. “A nuthouse” is how the manager of a women’s clothing store named Angelina described the protests. Her colleague chimed in, “That’s for people who have free time and don’t have to work for a living.” Both had taken a smoking break and were standing under a large campaign billboard with Mr. Putin’s face and the slogan “A Great Country; a Strong Leader.”

Of about two dozen people interviewed over two days in Lyubertsy, only a handful expressed doubts about Mr. Putin, and most of those said they would vote for him anyway, citing a lack of other options. Most polls indicate that he will win with more than 50 percent of the vote.

That apparently has not prevented some of Mr. Putin’s more zealous supporters from trying to pad his lead. Last month, Olga Klubnichkina, the director of a technical school in Lyubertsy, was recorded threatening her staff with disciplinary measures if they failed to bring in 11 absentee ballots marked for Mr. Putin — their own and 10 from friends and family. “I think that all understand that our future depends on this,” she said in a recording uploaded by one of the staff members to YouTube. “We need to submit to one commander in chief, like in the army. Someone commands, and like soldiers we follow.”

Several students confirmed that the voice on the recording was that of Ms. Klubnichkina. A woman at the school who bore a stark resemblance to her refused to identify herself or comment on the matter. Independent election monitors have documented numerous complaints about pressure being placed on voters to cast ballots for Mr. Putin ahead of the election. But all those who spoke to a reporter in Lyubertsy said their votes would be their own. “For the first time in our lives, the conditions have been created for us, for me, to run my own affairs, to become a different person and not be dependent on anyone,” said Larisa Kirilova, 59.

Ms. Kirilova, who has two Soviet-era college degrees, said she and her family barely had enough food before Mr. Putin came to power in 2000. She now makes a sufficient living selling environmentally safe cookware at a shopping center here — a modest job that she said nevertheless left her “inspired.” “Why would we trade a robin in our hand for a crane in the sky?”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/world/europe/in-russia-vote-fear-of-hardship-fuels-putin-support.html

ArmeniaNow: Armenian community in Russia says will vote for pro-government candidate for president

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The Union of Armenians of Russia (UAR) has stated its support for Russia’s powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is currently a candidate in the March 4 presidential election. The statement was delivered during a February 26 event held at one of Moscow’s largest concert halls. The UAR-organized event was attended by invited guests from the Armenian Diaspora, as well as other ethnic and youth organizations from Moscow and regions of Russia.

UAR Chairman Ara Abrahamyan, who is a Putin proxy in the upcoming vote, stated that the current prime minister has made an “invaluable contribution to the development of friendly relations and strategic partnership between Russia and Armenia.” “It is thanks to Putin that we have a great progress in Armenian-Russian relations, including in terms of military cooperation, due to which there is no war in Armenia, and the president of Armenia visited Russia 17 times,” said Abrahamyan.

Another prominent figure among Moscow Armenians, Artur Chilingarov, said: “Russia can count on the Russian Armenians, who understand that there must be stability and progress in the country that can only be ensured by Putin.”

“Putin has a very attentive and respectful attitude towards Armenia and us, the Armenians living and working in this country. I have known the prime minister personally for 25 years, and during all this time he has never spoke to me like to a ‘person of Caucasian nationality’,” Chilingarov, a prominent polar explorer, Hero of Russia, and member of the State Duma said in one of his interviews. (A person of Caucasian nationality is a diminutive collective term used by many in Russia to refer to the natives of the North and South Caucasus, which reflects a general anti-Caucasian mood in the country).

Other presidential candidates, such as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov also met with representatives of the Armenian community. Both made statements about a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh problem. Zhirinovsky even said that if elected he would recognize Karabakh’s unification with Armenia or the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. But Chilingarov says: “We do not even think about voting for another candidate [other than Putin].”

The Armenian community in Russia, as a rule, votes for the government candidates. While in the United States or France, where people will also elect their presidents this year, representatives of the Armenian community try to figure out who of the candidates can better defend their interests, there is no such question raised in Russia.

The Armenian communities in the U.S., France and other countries sometimes feel their choice is not justified or is justified. In some other countries, for instance, in Iran or Syria, the large Armenian communities prefer to remain neutral – they do not interfere in internal political rumblings, realizing that they can become their victim. In Russia, Armenians understand that even their neutrality would not be enough for Putin and they need to say out loud that the influential prime minister and would-be president is the only guarantor of friendship between Armenians and Russians.

Remarkably, one of the leaders of the radical opposition movement in Russia is also an ethnic Armenian – ex-chess champion Garry Kasparov. It is not known whether ethnic Armenians were among those attending protests in Moscow against election fraud, at least nothing has been said about it officially.

It is also interesting that in Armenia, representatives of several political forces, including Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan called on Russian citizens to vote for Putin on March 4, stating that “Armenian-Russian strategic cooperation has strengthened in recent years.” The most remarkable thing, however, is that no one has even bothered to note that it is Dmitry Medvedev, and not Putin, who has led Russia as president in recent years.

Source: http://armenianow.com/commentary/analysis/36045/armenian_community_russia_supports_putin
Armenian Mirror Spectator: Prospects of a Putin Comeback

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Azerbaijan has decided to have war games on the Nagorno Karabagh borders. Turkey has joined the same games on Armenia’s borders. They both have planned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Khojaly “genocide” with many provocative manifestations. In Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the state-sponsored demonstrations were headed by Turkey’s interior minister. At the same demonstrations, the ultra-nationalist group, the Grey Wolves, hoisted banners with these threatening slogans: “Today in Taksim, Tomorrow in Yerevan.” Of course a full-page ad in the New York Times “commemorating” the Khojaly incident intended to bring the war drumbeat to the US shores. Oil money can buy anything but the truth.

Why all of a sudden is this war-mongering orchestrated by a country whose foreign minister was claiming that he had reduced Turkey’s problems with its neighbors to zero? Furthermore, aggravating the situation is Israel’s saber rattling against Iran, rendering the entire region to a powder keg. Within the context of war rhetoric and the rising tensions, Armenia has to consider its security arrangements. Armenians have shed too much blood to give any credence to lofty slogans, which the West is showering over the region, under the umbrella of nuclear warheads.

Many people had been questioning the wisdom of extending Armenia’s security arrangement with Russia to another 49 years. Even some politicians in Armenia had joined that chorus. Today the significance of the Russian base in Armenia comes through more vividly. Russia may not exercise the best brand of democracy as far as the West is concerned. That it has the nuclear deterrent to keep Armenia’s enemies at bay is the difference between life and death for our beleaguered ancestral land.
March 4 is a crucial date for Russia and its allies, because the presidential elections will take place in that country then. Vladimir Putin is the front-runner in those elections much to the chagrin of the West. In fact, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cold War has not ended. It still continues, admittedly at a lower intensity. Former President Boris Yeltsin was the darling of the West who was in the perfect position to keep Russia in disarray. That is why President Bill Clinton supported him and befriended him to forestall or delay Russia’s return to the world political scene.

Enter President Putin. Under his leadership, Russia shaped up to assume its former role, although not with full potential. The two-million-strong Armenian community in Russia, goaded with a sense of security, has rallied around the Putin candidacy. Both lay and religious organizations have mobilized their forces in support of Putin, because they see in him the guarantee of a strong hand to keep Russia’s social and economic life in order.

Unfortunately, the economic upheaval and the political about-face in Russia in the past two decades, has given a freehand to the rise of fascists, neo-Nazis, extreme right groups and skinheads, who have descended on those from the Caucasus, harassing and even murdering them. Armenians are also ranked alongside those “undesirable” minorities be targeted for murder. Putin’s strong-arm policies will keep those gangs in check.

The Russian-Armenian community is the strongest economic resource for Armenia. That community tops all other communities in making cash remittances to families and friends in Armenia. Putin himself has engineered many investment and joint economic projects for Armenia. He is a proven hand, which does not have an alternative for the Armenians. Russia extended $500 million to Armenia to weather the recent economic crisis.

In a simplistic view, no US citizen should wish a competing power to rise to challenge US policies around the world. But throughout the Cold War, a bi-polar political system has kept the world in balance, unfortunately, through a balance of terror. But ever since the crumbling of the Soviet Union and the creation of a uni-polar system, many countries have fallen victim to so-called “democratization” and the trend continues.

Our Mid-East foreign policy, to no one’s surprise, is not formulated at Foggy Bottom. It was hijacked leading to the Iraq war, where blood is still spilling, and “democracy,” the stated goal of the neo-conservatives behind the scenes of the Bush II administration, is no closer than when Saddam Hussein ruled with impunity. It was hijacked to destroy a sovereign country like Libya and the drum beat is continuing to launch an aggression against Syria. Russia and China voted at the UN Security Council against an invasion of Syria, infuriating parties eager to bring regime changes in the Middle East for their own selfish needs, at the cost of US tax payers and the blood of uniformed citizens.

There is no doubt that democracy is not a quality peddled — or valued — by the Assad clan in Syria. The killing of innocent civilians is deplorable. However, those who want to topple the regime, do so not to bring democracy there, but to put on the throne their puppet. As seen in Egypt and Libya, when the powerful leader is toppled, the ensuing chaos claims even more lives. The US is not a beneficiary of those wars, for which it pays the price. It only wins more enemies.

March 4 will prove to be a watershed for Russia where traditionally strong leadership is favored. It will be a watershed for Armenia too and hopefully will induce some balance in the world politics run berserk.

Source: http://www.armenianlife.com/2012/03/01/commentary-prospects-of-a-putin-comeback/

Wall Street Journal: Putin Wins Disputed Victory

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Amid Middle-Class Revolt, Kremlin Boss Reclaims Russian Presidency

Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Sunday's presidential election, calling the vote a rebuke of the biggest anti-Kremlin protests in two decades and a strong mandate for his prickly assertion of Russia's interests abroad. But bitter disputes over the fairness of the closely monitored vote showed his victory isn't likely to mute a rising middle-class revolt against his 12 years of autocratic rule.

How Mr. Putin handles demands for greater political openness and competition—and whether the movement maintains momentum—will shape the course of his six-year term, his penchant for centralized governance and Russia's relations with the West. Preliminary results based on reports from 90% of precincts showed Mr. Putin with 64.6% of the vote in a field carefully screened to eliminate serious rivalry. That was higher than exit polls, which put his likely result at 58%-59% of the vote over four other candidates, but less than the ruling party got in the past two elections.

"We have won in an open and fair fight," Mr. Putin declared at a celebration in Manezh Square near the Kremlin. "We have shown that our people can easily tell apart the desire for novelty and renewal from political provocations that have only goal in mind—to break up the Russian state and to usurp power." "I promised you we would win," he told tens of thousands of supporters, who chanted "Putin! Putin!" during his brief speech.

His words were unlikely to dispel questions over whether Mr. Putin has the broad support needed to claim legitimacy for a regime he has led since 1999 as president or prime minister. "It's not an election," said Alexei Navalnyi, the anticorruption blogger and activist who has led the recent mass protests. "Putin had a chance to make at least the counting fair, but he didn't. Tomorrow we'll wake up in a country where a large chunk of the society doesn't see Mr. Putin as a legitimate president."

Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Sunday's presidential elections, but opposition-party members said vote rigging marred the process. WSJ's Greg White reports from Moscow. Allegations of fraud in the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections triggered the biggest antigovernment demonstrations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tens of thousands of protesters, many from the previously apolitical middle class that has grown during the relative prosperity of Mr. Putin's years in power, have taken to the streets to demand fair elections and call on Mr. Putin to step down. The loosely organized protest movement now faces a test of its ability to keep up the pressure, starting with a Monday evening rally in downtown Moscow.

Authorities denied serious irregularities in Sunday's vote and brought thousands of extra police into the capital in preparation for more protests. On Sunday police occupied the city center as an estimated 35,000 people, many bused from provincial towns, turned out for Mr. Putin's victory party. Mr. Putin, hatless in a frigid wind that he later said caused his eyes to tear, appeared with President Dmitry Medvedev, the protégé who took over the presidency in 2008 after term limits obliged Mr. Putin to step aside. Mr. Putin is set to serve for six years after Mr. Medvedev engineered a constitutional amendment raising the term length by two years.

The protests that erupted in December reflected popular disdain for the two men's announcement last fall that they would simply switch jobs. Many had looked to Mr. Medvedev as a liberal, Western-oriented alternative to his mentor, a former Soviet KGB officer. The tone of Mr. Putin's presidency is certain to be different from Mr. Medvedev's. During the campaign, Mr. Putin took a hard line, attacking the U.S., rejecting calls for major political reforms and defending his populist and state-oriented economic policies as he played to his base of older, traditionalist voters.

While he assured supporters at campaign headquarters early Monday that all his campaign promises would be fulfilled, the question is how much he will adjust his agenda in the coming months to reflect the growing strength of his opponents. And although he has long been viewed as Russia's paramount leader, his return to the Kremlin is likely to bring some shifts from the rule of Mr. Medvedev, who had sought to woo the urban middle class with pledges to fight corruption, strengthen the rule of law and modernize the economy.

Mr. Medvedev, for example, responded to the street protests last year with proposals to ease tight restrictions on party registration and to reinstate elections for regional governors—both steps that undo changes originally imposed under Mr. Putin. On Sunday, Mr. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, endorsed those proposals, which are still under consideration in parliament, but warned that the Kremlin will go slow on opening up the political system.

"There will be no revolutions, and moreover, no Gorbachevian spasms of liberalism," he said in a radio interview, referring to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms in the late 1980s accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union. "The political system needs to catch up a bit to the level of development of our civil society," Mr. Peskov said, adding that any change will be "evolutionary."

In economic policy, Mr. Putin has in recent months adopted business-friendly rhetoric, seeking much-needed investment. Political uncertainty and fears that his return would worsen an already cool business climate have contributed to near-record levels of capital flight over the last year. Mr. Putin has promised to business groups that he will ease pressure on entrepreneurs and reduce the government's tight grip on the economy, in part by privatizing some large state-owned companies.

At the same time, his government faces looming budget problems as it seeks to pay for costly increases in social and defense spending without raising taxes. Some of the early indications of what the new Putin administration will bring could come in foreign policy, where the Kremlin has often pivoted away from hard-line stances when they were no longer needed for domestic political gain.

During the campaign, Mr. Putin attacked the U.S. and the West as seeking to dominate the world and undermine Russia, themes that he has used repeatedly to mobilize supporters. Many observers expect the tone to soften now that the election has been won. Civil strife in Syria has provoked the deepest tensions between Moscow and the West seen in the last several years, according to Western diplomats, as Russia, backed by China, has twice blocked efforts in the United Nations Security Council to increase pressure on the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Golos, an independent poll-monitoring group that has come in for criticism from the Kremlin as biased against the government, reported several hundred apparent voting violations. Above, Prime Minister dimir Putin cast his vote. During the campaign, Mr. Putin harshly attacked the U.S. and its allies for what he called a "bellicose itch" and efforts to use the revolutions of the Arab Spring as a pretext to "redistribute markets" to the detriment of Russian companies.

But Western diplomats and analysts say they are hopeful that the Kremlin could soften its tough line now that Russia's elections are past. Already Mr. Putin and other Russian officials have begun carefully distancing themselves from Mr. Assad. Similarly, U.S. officials are hoping the Kremlin will ditch the harshly anti-American rhetoric that has been a hallmark of the campaign, including personal attacks in state media against Michael McFaul, the ex-White House aide who arrived as ambassador in Moscow in January.

Mr. Putin accused the U.S. of fomenting the opposition demonstrations and seeking to undermine his government. U.S. officials say they have received high-level assurances from Moscow that the improvement in relations seen under Mr. Medvedev will continue under Mr. Putin. Some analysts in Moscow, too, expect that the Kremlin will drop the anti-American line to allow it to focus on the more pressing problems at home.

With 90% of precincts reporting, the Central Election Commission said Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov came in second with 17.1% of the vote; billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, who ran as an independent, had 7.2%; ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky polled 6.3%; and socialist Sergei Mironov had 3.8%. Tens of thousands of Russians signed up as volunteer poll observers and there were numerous reports of violations Sunday.

Mr. Navalny said independent monitors who observed the vote count reported Mr. Putin falling short of a majority in Moscow and other large cities. Golos, an independent poll-monitoring group that has been accused by the Kremlin of bias against the government, posted claims of about 1,500 electoral violations on its website. The Interior Ministry said it hadn't found any violations that would cast doubt on the outcome of the vote.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204276304577261110204669088.html

CNN: Observers Slam Russian Vote as Putin Declares Victory

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120305115647-russia-election-putin-victory-fraud-allegations-00012911-story-top.jpg

International observers blasted Russia's presidential election Monday, saying: "The point of an election is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia." Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looked set to win Sunday's vote and return to the office he held until he was forced out by term limits four years ago. But European monitors expressed disappointment and frustration with the way he won.

They said they observed ballot stuffing and other irregularities in about a third of polling stations they monitored, and an uneven playing field in the run-up to the election. Sounding somewhat exasperated, the Council of Europe's Tiny Kox urged Russia "to have a fair election," saying "it's not that difficult." Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was particularly critical of irregularities in vote counting because "what matters in an election is the counting," she said.

She declined to say whether the irregularities affected the outcome of the vote -- a landslide for Putin by international standards, if not Russian ones. And she praised incremental improvements such as web cameras in polling stations and transparent ballot boxes, as well as the "massive mobilization of civil society demanding fair elections." Putin called for unity Sunday night as he appeared headed for a third term as president, declaring he had won an "open and honest fight."

But chess champion-turned opposition activist Garry Kasparov accused Putin's supporters of "massive fraud," saying early Monday they packed the polls with additional voters. With better than two-thirds of the vote reporting early Monday, Putin led his closest rival by a nearly 4-to-1 ratio. His margin of victory was smaller than in 2004, the last time he ran for president, but appears well above the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.

"We have won an open and honest fight," Putin told the cheering and flag-waving supporters who had braved the cold in Manezhnaya Square for hours to hear his expected victory speech. The results show "that our people are ready for renewal, and have only one aim." "We are appealing to all people to unite for our people, for our motherland, and we will win," he said. "We've had a victory! Glory to Russia!"

The 59-year-old former KGB officer served two terms in the Kremlin before term limits forced him to step down in 2008. But he served as prime minister under his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, and continued to dominate Russian politics. With more than 68% of boxes reporting, Putin had just under 65% of the vote in a field of five candidates. His closest challenger, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, had slightly more than 17%; the other three candidates -- including billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team -- were running in the single digits.

Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Monday congratulated Putin on his win, but opposition figures said they planned to continue their demonstrations, fueled by new complaints about Sunday's results. Kasparov, who served as a poll watcher in his Moscow neighborhood, said Putin's supporters "simply added new voters to the register using so-called supplementary voter rolls." "At one of the polling stations, the number of extra voters even exceeded the number of registered voters," he said.

And Ilya Ponomarev, a member of parliament and a prominent protest figure, said he did not feel there was a fair counting of votes. Many polls before the vote, he said, showed Putin receiving around 40%. "Mr. Putin remains to be one of the most popular politicians in the country, probably the most popular politician in the country, and it's quite natural that he's receiving the majority of the votes," Ponomarev, of the A Just Russia party, told CNN from Moscow's Red Square. "But it should not be an overwhelming majority, and I think there has to be a runoff."

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/05/world/europe/russia-election/

Western Hypocrisy and the Russian Election

http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/medium/putin_election.jpg

Vladimir Putin wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes as he exulted in his presidential election victory and shouted “Glory to Russia!” The entire American punditocracy, to say nothing of the Brits, responded as one with accusations the election had been fixed, confidently predicting a “crackdown” on “dissent” as the Russian leader resumed the office he had never really left.

Yet there is very little to these claims of fraud. Of course, in every election ever held anywhere there have been “irregularities,” such as are commonplace in our very own Chicago. There is some evidence the Russian parliamentary elections were somewhat less than honest – the 99 percent pro-Putin vote in Chechnya, of all places, was particularly suspect – although no one has gone so far as to say Putin’s United Russia party actually lost.

The reality is that Putin is immensely popular in Russia, a fact the English-speaking media only admits with great reluctance. The “dissidents,” who are fawned over by Western journalists, are viewed by Russia’s vast-albeit-silent majority as a tiny faction of professional discontents with dubious motives. Putin has characterized them as professionals in the pay of Washington and London, a charge given credence by some hilarious video of a British diplomat and Russian “democracy activists” who wound up between a rock and a hard place.

Even before the OSCE report on the presidential poll was issued, the chief of the mission, one Tonio Picula, averred:

“The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt.”

Senor Picula may be unfamiliar with the details of American electoral history, but was the outcome of every US presidential election from 1936-44 ever in any doubt? “No real competition?” Has Picula looked at the Republican presidential field lately? “Abuse of government resources”? Oh please, spare us the sanctimony: what incumbent hasn’t utilized the power and prestige of incumbency to win reelection? Western politicians hand out goodies to their supporters, and then bus them to the polls on election day: why should we expect a Russian election to be any different? We’re told pro-Putin voters were bussed from polling station to polling station, engaging in “carousel voting,” and yet the Russian election seems relatively clean compared to how the process was conducted in the Iowa and Maine GOP primaries.

This charge of a lack of competition is ironic, given the system we have here in the United States, which effectively ensconces two state-supported and state-subsidized parties, giving them a monopoly on the political process at the state and federal levels. These two parties are, in legal terms, effectively extensions of the state, and they have managed to not only preserve but reinforce their privileged status. If only the OSCE and the “human rights” crowd turned their attention Westward, say to California, where an “top-two” system has effectively banned third parties from the ballot.

What this means is that in San Francisco, for example, where the Democratic party regularly racks up majorities totaling nearly 90 percent of the vote, all the candidates for, say, Congress, regardless of party, will run in the same “primary.” The top two vote-getters will run in the general election – again, regardless of party. In the Bay Area, where the GOP regularly polls around ten percent, it is highly unlikely a Republican candidate will make it to the ballot in the general: it will be Nancy versus some Democrat to her left.

That’s “democracy,” California-style. As for the rest of the country, the situation for “third” parties is nearly as bad, with increasingly restrictive ballot access laws making it impossible to present “dissident” views to the electorate. Yet we don’t hear Human Rights Watch and all the other international do-gooders in the regime-change camp howling about a “crackdown” in the US against “dissidents.” Why is that?

As I write, the results of “Super Tuesday” aren’t in, and yet one wonders how much it really matters. A veritable avalanche of special interest money decided the “election” in advance, and the “winner” will go on to challenge an incumbent who will have a billion in hard and “soft” money from the many who seek favors from the most powerful man on the planet.

Western critics complain the Russian media is a pro-Putin monolith, yet these are privately-owned television and print outlets controlled by corporate interests friendly to the regime. How is that different from our own system, where corporate interests line up behind the two state-sanctioned parties: with George Soros, Goldman Sachs, and GE supporting the Obama-ites, and the Koch brothers, for example, or Rupert Murdoch funding the opposition?

In Russia there is no effective political opposition: the “liberals” are a confused lot, and split into four or five competing parties. Together, these groups make up no more than 10 percent of the electorate, at best. The main opposition parties are openly authoritarian, with the neo-Stalinist Communist Party of the Russian Federation leading the pack, and the “Liberal Democrat” supporters of openly fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky trailing slightly behind. To add to this unsavory mix, the most visible of the anti-Putin activists are the militants of the National Bolshevik Party (NBP), led by virulent nationalist and sometime punk-novelist Eduard Limonov. The National Bolsheviks are a bizarre ultra-nationalist sect prone to violence: their official party symbol is a sinister recapitulation of both Nazi and Soviet emblems. Western accounts of Russian “dissidents” figure Limonov and his followers prominently, and yet somehow fail to mention the NBP advocates the expulsion of all non-Russians and the creation of an authoritarian state with the Leader – Limonov himself, naturally – at its head. In Limonov-land, as he puts it in his manifesto, The Other Russia:

Boys and girls will be taught to shoot from grenade throwers, to jump from helicopters, to besiege villages and cities, to skin sheep and pigs, to cook good hot food and to write poetry. There will be sportive competitions, fighting, a free combat without rules, running, jumping….

“We will have to leave Russia, to build a nest on the fresh central lands, to conquer them there and to give rise to a new, unseen civilization of free warriors united in an armed community. Roaming the steppes and the mountains, fighting in southern nations.

“Many types of people will have to disappear. Alcoholic uncles Vasias, cops, functionaries and other defective material will die out, having lost their roots in society. The armed community could be called ‘Government of Eurasia.’ Thus the dreams of the Eurasians of the ’30s will be realized. Many people will want to join us. Possibly we will conquer the whole world. People will die young but it will be fun.”

Although one might think no one would take such a person seriously, our Western journalists routinely give his violence-prone followers free publicity, highlighting, for example, a NBP election-eve protest in Moscow. Photos of Limonov’s crazed followers fighting the police were flashed all around the world with news of Putin’s election victory: this was meant to illustrate the official Western narrative, which is that Russia is slipping back into authoritarianism and Putin represents the reincarnation of Stalin.

This contention is beyond absurd. In little more than two decades, the country has emerged from one of the most vicious and bloodthirsty dictatorships in world history, where millions perished in the gulag and a totalitarian ideology was the official doctrine of the state. Seen from this perspective, Russia’s progress toward an open society has been unprecedented: to hold Putin’s Russia to a standard not even the United States can live up to is Western hypocrisy at its most brazen.

Why have the regime-changers and “democracy”-exporters turned their sights on Russia? It’s all about Putin’s independent foreign policy: the Russians have the temerity to block the regime-changers’ plans in Syria and Iran, and Putin routinely berates the NATO powers for acting as if the cold war never ended – as, indeed, for them it hasn’t.

As the US and Britain move against Iran, setting up Tehran for a round of “shock and awe,” the Russians aren’t sitting still for it: they’re sending arms to Iran’s ally, Syria, and calling for mediation with the mullahs. Western leaders are especially nonplussed at Putin’s blunt denunciations of US policy: “They want to control everything,” he told student interlocutors in Tomsk, “sometimes I have the impression the United States doesn’t need allies, it needs vassals.”

Truer words were never spoken. The last thing Western NGOs – and their governmental paymasters – want is a strong, united, and relatively free Russia. They much prefer the corruption and chaos of the Yeltsin years, when a perpetually intoxicated “leader” and his Rasputin-like cronies helped the West and the former communist elite seize the country’s “privatized” assets, and let the nation crumble around them. Putin saved Russia from dissolution, and those who were hoping to pick up the pieces were not at all pleased. This is the reason for years of relentless anti-Russian cold war era propaganda, the charges of “authoritarianism” leveled against a nation emerging from a 70-year-long nightmare, and the revived hype about a Russian “threat.”

The nations of the West should look to clean up their own houses before they go around chastening other countries for allegedly “undemocratic” practices. And if they want to know what or who is the greatest threat to the sovereignty and self-governing aspirations of the world’s peoples, then all they have to do is look into a mirror.

Source: http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/03/06/western-hypocrisy-and-the-russian-election/

5 comments:

  1. I do not know if the tears would serve him well or not, in the diplomatic world I think this is more negative than positive, especially regarding his character, it would seem more of a sign of weakness. I see it more as a sign of his sincere loyalty to Russia, but then again, you could say this is what he wants people to believe.. we will never know.
    What I am worried about, and what needs to be done, is to implement a European/Western style of democracy as soon as possible in Russia/Armenia. This means that we need like two or three parties, one left, one center, one right, who ultimately are controlled by one group of nationalists. This way we just shove a new candidate once every four/six years, and our people will be quiet and believe they truly live in a democracy. Voila, a typical Western style democracy! But not enforced by Westerners in our countries, but by ourselves.
    At this moment, our countries future depends just mere on a few individuals, which makes it very easy to attack. We have not reached this level of sophistication yet, that is why Putin is coming back in power as he can not trust anyone else to do the job well, nor is there a well established group of Russian nationalists who have firm control of their countries political structure.
    Especially concerning Armenians, they will never become politically mature. It is better to have your own small group control all the parties in the country, to let the politically immature citizens believe they live in a democracy, than to try to teach the politically immature Armenians to be mature, and have a "real" democracy. This all needs time, but we should actively work towards this model asap in my opinion (and at the same time massively invest in dozens of media and use it the way the West uses it, and also flood our countries, and if possible foreign countries, by NGO's supported by our governments).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with your thoughts. That is what I mean when I say that the Armenian republic first needs to established deeply rooted political institutions before it attempts to flirt with democracy.

    Like many underdeveloped nations around the world today, Armenians follow individuals. Armenian political parties are personality based clubs. We somehow need to figure out a way of replacing these personalities with ideas-based national institutions.

    Armenia's political parties need to be made subservient to these national institutions. Like you said, there can be left, right and center, but they all need to fall inline. Without exception, they all need to work within the said political environment. Moreover, Armenia's wealthy class (considered "oligarchs" when in the East but regarded as "special interests" when in the West), needs to invest their money in the republic. A wealthy class invested in the republic is also very important to Armenia's future health.

    All this requires lasting regional peace and a lot of time. In the meanwhile, I think Yerevan needs to expel any organization or individual that is in any way connected to the political West. This applies to Levon Petrosian, Raffi Hovanissian and Vartan Oskanian.

    I personally think that the current leadership, while clearly better than the previous leadership Armenia has had, is too soft and too conciliatory. Yerevan is wasting too much time playing games with Washington. Armenia's future is in the Caucasus. Armenia is a Eurasian nation. Armenia needs to concentrate on regional powers. Naturally, Russia, Iran, European Union, India and China should be Yerevan's focal point.

    PS: Regarding Putin's tears: Perhaps in diplomatic circles such an expression would not serve him well... but on the home front it can help him win the hearts&minds of his people.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am truly delighted with the election Mr. Putin as the next President of the Russian Federation. It is indeed the best choice for Russia and the best choice for Armenia. I wish him all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe his tears, those are tears of happiness and patriotism. Congratulations to Tsar Putin! Lets all hope he continues the same polices as before. Lets hope Russia moves closer to Armenia and I hope there isn't another war. I really wish Armenia one day has a leader like Putin. Lets hope.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Although one might think no one would take such a person seriously, our Western journalists routinely give his violence-prone followers free publicity, highlighting, for example, a NBP election-eve protest in Moscow. Photos of Limonov’s crazed followers fighting the police were flashed all around the world with news of Putin’s election victory: this was meant to illustrate the official Western narrative, which is that Russia is slipping back into authoritarianism and Putin represents the reincarnation of Stalin.

    This contention is beyond absurd. In little more than two decades, the country has emerged from one of the most vicious and bloodthirsty dictatorships in world history, where millions perished in the gulag and a totalitarian ideology was the official doctrine of the state. Seen from this perspective, Russia’s progress toward an open society has been unprecedented: to hold Putin’s Russia to a standard not even the United States can live up to is Western hypocrisy at its most brazen.

    Why have the regime-changers and “democracy”-exporters turned their sights on Russia? It’s all about Putin’s independent foreign policy: the Russians have the temerity to block the regime-changers’ plans in Syria and Iran, and Putin routinely berates the NATO powers for acting as if the cold war never ended – as, indeed, for them it hasn’t.

    As the US and Britain move against Iran, setting up Tehran for a round of “shock and awe,” the Russians aren’t sitting still for it: they’re sending arms to Iran’s ally, Syria, and calling for mediation with the mullahs. Western leaders are especially nonplussed at Putin’s blunt denunciations of US policy: “They want to control everything,” he told student interlocutors in Tomsk, “sometimes I have the impression the United States doesn’t need allies, it needs vassals.”

    Truer words were never spoken. The last thing Western NGOs – and their governmental paymasters – want is a strong, united, and relatively free Russia. They much prefer the corruption and chaos of the Yeltsin years, when a perpetually intoxicated “leader” and his Rasputin-like cronies helped the West and the former communist elite seize the country’s “privatized” assets, and let the nation crumble around them. Putin saved Russia from dissolution, and those who were hoping to pick up the pieces were not at all pleased. This is the reason for years of relentless anti-Russian cold war era propaganda, the charges of “authoritarianism” leveled against a nation emerging from a 70-year-long nightmare, and the revived hype about a Russian “threat.”

    The nations of the West should look to clean up their own houses before they go around chastening other countries for allegedly “undemocratic” practices. And if they want to know what or who is the greatest threat to the sovereignty and self-governing aspirations of the world’s peoples, then all they have to do is look into a mirror.

    ReplyDelete

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