Staunton, May 29 – By holding a referendum on amendments to the Constitution, Putin has given Russians the chance to vote against him and his policies and by rescheduling it at a time when the pandemic will still be going on, he has ensured that they will take advantage of that opportunity.
And consequently, Russian analysts say, the Kremlin leader’s “constitutional blitzkrieg,” one that he need not have launched or organized with a referendum at all has failed or even more blown up in his face with uncertain consequences but with ever more Russians now asking “what will happen next?”
Public opinion polls show Russians are increasingly angry at the authorities in general and Putin in particular but not yet ready to go into the streets. But having the opportunity to vote no, something the regime has not allowed them without negative consequences, gives them the perfect occasion to express their anger and opposition.
Had there been a vote before the pandemic or had the pandemic not happened or had Putin and the regime handled it more successfully, the referendum might have gone through without particular difficulty. But Ilya Grashchenkov says, that moment was “missed” and the regime can’t recover it (nakanune.ru/articles/116113/
Others agree, including Rosbalt journalist Aleksandr Zhelenin, who says that the crux of the matter is that the powers have given the people the chance to vote against the regime without serious consequences and it is a chance that many, including himself, will rush to take advantage of (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2020/05/30/1846135.html