Intrigue of Russia presidential election. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

In the political struggle between the pro-European and pro-Russian forces in the Republic of Moldova, a fight for the country governance model is actually being given...

Electoral determinism vs. suicidal determinism

A presidential election was held in the Russian Federation on March 15-17, 2024 for the enthronement of Vladimir Putin in the presidential chair for a term of another six years. The necessity of Putin’s re-election is dictated by the fact that his 25-year rule in Russia proved to be insufficient to solve the country’s problems. The new term will certainly be followed by at least another six-year term, bringing the term of uninterrupted rule to 37 years, as it is stipulated by Russia’s constitution amended in 2020.

The figure of 37 years in power is somehow emblematic. In this regard, not at all accidentally in the interview for Tucker Carlson, Vladimir Putin resorted to tracing the Russian history, starting with the year 862, to prove that all events have an intrinsic connection. The point is that, starting with 862, three of the top rulers of Russia governed for 36 years: Vsevolod Yuryevich the Big Nest (1176-1212), Vasily I (1389-1425) and Peter I the Great (1689-1725). Under the current constitutional framework, Vladimir Putin will surpass the three and will equal the achievement of John IV the Terrible, who ruled for 37 years, from 1547 to 1584. However, under the mentioned constitutional framework, Vladimir Putin will not be able to surpass only John III, John the Terrible’s grandfather, who governed Russia for 43 years, from 1462 to 1505.

In order to solve this problem, to all appearances, another amendment of the constitution will be needed, regarding the resetting of the duration of Putin’s rule. The new resetting will ensure at least two more consecutive presidential terms for Putin, until 2048, and a continued 48-year term at the helm of Russia. That is, if in the meantime he will not press the Red Button, for an eventual Game Over. This is possible within the transformation of electoral determinism into suicidal, apocalyptic determinism, which is insistently promoted by Putin’s loyal political scientists and philosophers, such as Sergei Karaganov and philosopher Aleksandr Dugin.

If we refer to contemporary history, then the meaning of the 2020 amendment to Russia’s constitution was to guarantee Putin a term in office which would exceed that of Stalin at the helm of the USSR. The latter took up the reins of office in 1922 with his election as Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, and held power for 31 years, until his death in March 1953. Naturally, the longer are the terms of office of Russia’s rulers, the more ferocious are the political repression against opponents and the scale of this repression. Why is this happening? Because Russian history has in its historical fabric only periods of repression or troubled times, including  the consequences of Boris Yeltsin's rule, tertium non datur. According to Putinist ideologues, their idol has the task of ending the troubled times so as to begin a new era of repression and ensure Russia’s greatness, the fulfillment  of messianic tasks.

There is no doubt that the Putinist regime is fully committed to promoting repression for the sake of greatness. Thus, after the Bolshevik putsch of 1917, among the leaders who resorted to mass repression, Vladimir Putin yielded only to Joseph Stalin, outstripping all the other Secretaries General of the CPSU. For example, over the past six years of Putin’s rule , “more than 116,000 people have been subjected to direct repression in Russia, of whom 11,442 people have been prosecuted, and about 105,000 have been subjected to administrative liability for statements and participation in rallies.” For comparison, under Nikita Khrushchev’s rule (1953-1964), only 4,883 people were convicted in accordance with the Criminal Code articles “Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” or “Dissemination of deliberate fabrications”. During the following years until the perestroika, in 1985, even fewer people - 3,234 - were convicted under the mentioned articles.

The only intrigue of Putin's re-election...

So, in the election of March 15-17, 2024, Vladimir Putin was re-elected for a fifth presidential term. What should be remembered in this context is that in none of the five campaigns, Putin participated in electoral debates, although each time, through different methods, an absolute majority of votes was secured for him. Likewise, never at the end of his presidential term did Putin present any report on the fulfillment of his electoral promises. Moreover, he resorted to amending the constitution as many times as he needed to, in order to secure the extension of his tenure, forgetting the promises he had made previously.

Putin’s electoral performance, even if he didn’t take part in electoral debates and refused to present reports on the failure to fulfill electoral promises, is due to the mastery of political technologists who served his interests. The electoral technology used by Vladimir Putin is based on so-called informal social contracts, agreed by the majority of the electoral body. The meaning of social contracts is limited to solving acute social problems in exchange for refusing to challenge the quality of government. The focus was on the post-imperial syndrome of the Russians. Thus, in his first presidential election campaign, as an exponent of the corrupt Yeltsinist clan, Putin promised the Russian electorate – security. In this regard, the Second Chechen War was started, after a series of explosions of dubious origin in the autumn of 1999. The campaign slogan was – destroy terrorists in the WC.  

Putin's second social contract with the electorate, for the period of 2004-2005, concerned the raising of the welfare of the population against the background of dramatically rising hydrocarbon prices and expanding exports of hydrocarbons to Europe. During this period, against the background of increasing welfare, the process of reducing citizens’ rights and destroying the opposition began, obviously in exchange for welfare. The third social contract, for the period of 2012-2018, was anticipated at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007, when the idea of restoring Russia’s greatness as part of the restoration of the world order for building the multipolar world was launched. The first test under this contract was the war against Georgia in August 2008, and the peak was reached in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the war in Donbass. The fourth social contract, for the period of 2018-2024, was based on ensuring Russia’s sovereignty against the background of sanctions imposed by the international community for the annexation of Crimea, based on the so-called decrees of May 2018. In December 2021, preparations began for the fifth social contract, which stipulated threats to NATO and the intention to withdraw the gifts offered by the Russian people in order to gather the Russian lands. The culmination of this approach was the start of military aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

In the recent presidential election campaign, within the paradigm of building the new world order and gathering the Russian lands, Putin annihilated all his potential opponents, promising, after 25 years in power, to build a new elite, capable of ensuring Russia’s sovereignty and building the new world order. Evidently, the new elite will have participants in the aggression against Ukraine and potential war criminals as a selection pool.

Obviously, against the background of the tasks assigned in the latest social contract, proposed by Putin, the Central Election Commission of Russia aimed to prove that the presidential elections in Russia are marked by an intrigue that has not been yet seen in the electoral history of mankind. In this regard, a conference was held, dedicated to the estimates of Putin’s potential opponent, out of the three registered election contenders, of his possibilities of finishing second. In this regard, philosopher Aleksandr Dugin substantiated Putin’s role as an undisputed sovereign, who participates in elections only for ritual enthronement considerations. In the same vein, Putin’s main propagandist, Vladimir Solovyov, called on the Russian voters to go to the polls and take an oath before Putin.

Moldovan observers at Putin’s enthronement

From the perspective of the political opposition in the Republic of Moldova, curious things happened at Vladimir Putin’s recent re-election. Thus, although the Russian authorities announced that representatives of the Republic of Moldova are among the international observers at Vladimir Putin”s enthronement, it hard to identify even a single party that annoused the dispatch of observers.

Neither the Communist-Socialist bloc nor the multiple Shorist clones have announced their participation in the mission to observe the process of legitimizing Vladimir Putin’s right to press the red button.

In such circumstances, we can only hope that this manifestation of cowardice will cost them dearly, as those parties will possibly be stripped of financial support from the Kremlin. Of course, we cannot exclude the fact that Moldovan pro-Putinists will still pluck up courage and assume participation in the Russian election. The observed things could be extremely useful for the Moldovan electoral authorities to learn the techniques for organizing elections over three days, the democratic way of registering candidates or organizing the electoral competition to decide the winner in the fight for the second place, etc.


The citizens and political class of the Republic of Moldova must learn lessons from the so-called electoral process in the Russian Federation, which from electoral competition turned into a ritual of enthronement of Vladimir Putin.

In the political struggle between the pro-European and pro-Russian forces in the Republic of Moldova, a fight for the country governance model is actually being given. In the event of the victory of the Fifth Column, the future of the country and its model of governance can be no other than the Putinist one. Therefore, under the mentioned circumstances, the eventual referendum on the introduction of the objective of European integration into the Constitution will be an extremely important test for choosing the regional integration course of the Republic of Moldova. Obviously, we must have no illusions about the irreversibility of the European course, even if the referendum confirms the pro-European pleading of the majority.

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