Sunday, 18 October 2015

Russia's Strong Man (05/03/12)

So Vladimir Putin has won the election to become Russia's next President in, effectively, a one-horse, the result of which was never really in any doubt.

The United Russia Party sold their candidate to the nation on the basis that Valdimir Putin represents the politics of change, but this is likely to have a hollow ring given that Putin has been a two-term President before. 

What it looks like to the outside world is that the great offices of the Russian state can be bought and sold, passed back and forwards between favoured candidates at will.

In reality a continuation of the old brigade who will consolidate power in the hands of party apparatchiks and leave the economy largely in the hands of Russian oligarchs.

So the move to the next phase of Russia's development is unlikely to take place under Vladimir Putin the rapid economic growth of the last decade will be difficult to sustain.

The emerging Russian middle class is clearly becoming much more sophisticated and is not taken in by the preposterous hard man images of their bare-chested President, and his famously stage managed events.

Such as the President's fantastic good luck in stumbling over a horde of hidden treasure while out for a quick underwater scuba-dive, as you do.

To my mind the biggest problem facing Vladimir Putin is that in many ways he represents the old Russia he comes across as an old-fashioned politician, a behind the scenes fixer.

Who then lurches to the opposite extreme in trying to address this perceived shortcoming by portraying himself as a Russian action man.

But while this worked for Vladimir Putin once upon a time it's highly unlikely to do so again.

Because future of Russia lies with the people demanding a more open society and greater political freedoms including freedom of speech which is clearly not the 'new' President's strong suit.