Saturday, 03 March 2012 13:09

Russian Elections, 2012

On March 4th, Russians will take to the polls to decide the leader of their country for the next six years. The presidential elections in the Russian Federation have been the subject of speculation over the past few months, sweeping the headlines over the world, as protesters have been trying to imitate the recent successes in the Arab Spring type protests for change. The political situation that leads up to the election on Sunday is much more difficult to understand than the average person thinks. Russia is a country in which can find only five prominent candidates for the presidential election. The strong Vladimir Putin, communist Gennady Zyuganov, loud spoken Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Sergey Mironov, and billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, all are in the race for president of the Russian Federation.

Russian Elections, 2012 When breaking down all the candidates and the race itself one thing appears common in all the candidates, they are all rich. Vladimir Putin is the most famous person in Russia in the current time. He was president for eight years after Yeltsin left the post. Putin’s party, United Russia, is the most popular and powerful in Russia. Although the party lost some seats in the Parliamentary election in December, United Russia continues to hold the majority in parliament and in popularity. Putin to the opposition appears to be just like the old leaders of the Soviet Union or tsarist Russia, a strong man trying to keep as much power to him as possible. Though recently, Putin has been at the forefront of reforms in Russia, those who oppose him say that his reforms are not working. Putin is expected to win the election comfortably, but is Russia ready for another six to twelve years of Putin?

Russian Elections, 2012 The second candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, is the leader of the Communist party in Russia. Though this party appears second in the polls in popularity running up to the election, the communist party is typically popular with the elder generation in which lived during the Soviet Union. The strength of the communist party amongst the youth is weak. The youth and educated middle class acknowledge the failures of the Soviet Union, and want nothing to do with communism again. Zyuganov usually finds most of his support in Siberia, and in the Eastern part of Russia, and not in the major cities such as St. Petersburg or Moscow. Though the Russian people for the most part do not want to see communism again, there are still some out there who support Zyuganov, and he should not be taken lightly.

Russian Elections, 2012 The third candidate, Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, is portrayed as a crazy man with his loud and wild comments and actions in the media. This being said, Zhirinovskiy should never be called “stupid”. The former colonel and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party is highly educated and uses his voracious speeches to grab the attention of all who are present. Though his ideas maybe considered radical, he has found support with those nationalists who are calling for, “Russia for Russians.” Zhirinovskiy is not expected to win the presidency, but his power of party leader of the Liberal Democrats could provide powerful after the election, as it is expected that protests and unrest will unfold. Zhirinovskiy and Zyuganov could work together after the election to organize the people for protests against the regime of Putin. 

Russian Elections, 2012 The fourth candidate, Mikhail Prokhorov, is a rich tycoon that is spending his big bucks for political change in Russia. The young billionaire is trying to express and send his new ideas of change into the Russian media, as he wants to see a better and different Russia for the future. Along with Zhirinovskiy and Zyuganov, Prokhorov is not a supporter of the current standings of Russian society and the regime of United Russia and Putin. Prokhorov’s chances to win the presidency are very slim, but his voice and new ideas could prove valuable for the future of Russia, even if he does not win the election.

Russian Elections, 2012 The fifth and last candidate, Sergey Mironov, is an old supporter and friend of Putin who recently declared that United Russia is not in his interest anymore. Mironov is the leader of the Fair Russia party, and is for free education and healthcare. Mironov wants to end corruption in Russia, and called the United Russia party, the party of crooks and thieves. Mironov comes into the election with the smallest chance of winning. 

Realistically speaking, Putin will win the election. There will be cries of falsifications and election fraud, but the main problem of the Russian society is that they cannot find another candidate besides Putin who they see that can rule Russia. Typically, Russians look for a smart and strong leader to rule Russia. Putin has the appearance and attitude of this image. Currently the polls are suggesting that Putin has around 60% of the votes, with Zyuganov coming in second with 15%. It will take something incredible for the other candidates to beat Putin. The only way it can happen is if they all combine forces together. Even if this happens, they still trail Putin by a large margin in the polls. The idea of revolution is still possible, but very unlikely. Expect a victory for Putin and United Russia in this election. It will take some time for Russia and Russian people as a whole to make real political change in a country that is only 20 years free of communistic rule.

By: Andriy Kosivchuk


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