Tuesday, February 20, 2024

For Two Groups, Russian Presidential Election Remains Important even if Outcome is Already Certain, Levinson Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 16 – There are two groups in Russian society for whom the upcoming presidential election remains important even if the outcome is already known, Aleksey Levinson says. These are the members of the power vertical who must prove they in charge and the 10 million anti-war voters whom the Kremlin has deprived of a real choice.

            There is a tendency to say the upcoming election is irrelevant precisely because its outcome is a foregone conclusion, the Levada Center sociologist says. But that is a mistake because for two groups it may prove decisive (moscowtimes.ru/2024/02/16/chto-delat-desyati-millionam-izbiratelei-zhelayuschih-ostanovit-spetsoperatsiyu-a121833).

            The first consists of the members of Putin’s power vertical who must show themselves capable of “ensuring the controllability” over the population. They know that if they fail in large ways or small to demonstrate that to the satisfaction of those above them, they could lose everything.

            If what they will do is thus obvious, Levinson says, those in the second group, the roughly ten million Russians who oppose the war, many of whom signed the petitions for a candidate who promised to end it but whom the Kremlin has prevented from running, face a real dilemma and a real choice.

            What will these 10 million do? That is “a big question,” the sociologist continues. They aren’t about to leave the country as others did after the launch of the expanded war in Ukraine. And so what they will choose to do matters. They aren’t unified but they exist despite the efforts of the Putin regime to act as if they don’t.

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