Ayer escribía sobre el ambiente en Rusia para las elecciones de este dos de diciembre. Sin embargo, no es sólo que el ambiente en sí sea más que discutible, es que las mismas elecciones están viciadas porque sólo pueden presentarse aquellos candidatos que hayan sido aceptados por el Kremlin h/t O Insurgente:
Only candidates approved by the Kremlin are allowed to take part. Besides United Russia, which could secure 70% of the vote, these include the toothless Communist Party (which may get 12%) and the Liberal Democratic Party, a clownish far-right party set up in the late 1980s with the help of the KGB. (Its party list includes Andrei Lugovoi, the ex-KGB officer accused of poisoning his former colleague, Alexander Litvinenko, in London last year.)
Los partidos aceptados son, por tanto, el Partido comunista, el Partido Liberal Democrático, un partido de extrema derecha totalmente risible en el que milita Lugovoi, el ex-oficial del Kremlin acusado de envenenar a Litvinenko. Sorprendentemente (¿o no?), la KGB ayudó a crear el partido de la extrema derecha, que está dirigido por el ultra-nacionalista Zhirinovsky, que defiende la poligamia obligatoria para las mujeres rusas para posibilitar que se mantenga la raza rusa.
El parecido con el referendum en Venezuela es por tanto notorio: tanto Putin como Chávez prometen a los votantes un gran salto hacia el pasado.
Así que el Partido Rusia Unida, de Putin, va a obtener el 70% de todos los votos.
The results were fixed months ago, when the Kremlin changed the rules. To keep the opposition out of parliament, the Kremlin raised the threshold for seats to 7%, and banned small parties from forming coalitions to meet this requirement. The minimum turnout rule was abolished, as was the option to vote against all candidates. Regional parties and single-mandate seats that let in independent deputies were scrapped. Opposition leaders have been harassed or arrested and their financing blocked. Television has given blanket coverage to United Russia and dished dirt on all opposition. This propaganda has been so effective that, despite United Russia’s refusal to participate in TV debates, 8% of viewers believe they have seen it win them.
Los resultados fueron preparados cuando hace unos meses, el Kremlin cambió las reglas de votos, aumentando el porcentaje de votos para acceder al Parlamento al 7% y prohibió las coaliciones de otros pequeños partidos. A lo que se añade el acoso a la oposición tanto físico como financiero, que la TV le ha permitido de todo a UR y ha embarrado a la oposición y se ha descartado a los partidos regionales, podemos considerar cómo de legales y abiertas van a ser estas elecciones. Pero hay otro detalle aún más curioso:
The opposition Union of Right Forces (SPS) has not been allowed to air an advertisement warning the country against a return to the Soviet past.
A la opositora Unión de Fuerzas de Derechas no se le ha permitido que se proyectase un anuncio advirtiendo al país sobre una vuelta al pasado soviético.
Y es que esa vuelta al pasado soviético es sin duda uno de los peligros más sobresalientes que recaen hoy sobre Rusia.
Para ilustrar esto: Garry Kasparov en The Wall Street Journal (traduzco una parte):
Desde el momento de nuestra detención no pudimos ver a nuestros abogados, incluso cuando entramos en la comisaría. Después de estar tres horas en el juicio, el juez nos dijo que continuaba el día siguiente. Pero el juez se fue de la sala y cuando volvió dijo que mi juicio continuaría en ese momento. Otra muestra más de lo que llamamos "justicia telefónica".
Tanto en la calle como en la comisaría, la KGB y las fuerzas del orden lo tenían todo bajo control (hay que recordar que le detuvieron en una manifestación). A la defensa no se le permitió que llamase a ningún testigo o presentar ningún material de prueba, como vídeos o fotos que los periodistas habían sacado mientras estábamos en la manifestación y durante los arrestos.
Cuando el show del tribunal había terminado, me llevaron a la cárcel policial de la Calle Petrovka 38 de Moscú, y aquí continuaron las violaciones de procedimiento. No sólo en relación a mi tratamiento personal, que fue tan extremadamente respetable y con tanta hospitalidad como una caja pequeña con terminaciones de metal y un agujero en el suelo como water. No se me dejó hacer una llamada y no se dejó que me visitase nadie. Incluso se les impidió visitarme a mi abogado Olga Mijailova y al miembro de la Duma Vlamidir Ryzhkov, a pesar de que tienen derecho legal para ello. A mi predecesor en el campeonato mundial de ajedrez, Anatoly Karpov, durante años mi gran rival, y que generosamente me fue a visitar, también se le impidió la entrada.
Hoy el IHT habla de que la única cuestión no es si Putin va a ganar o no, si no cuánto será el margen por el que va a ganar. De hecho, será lo que le dé la posibilidad de estar en el poder una vez que deje su cargo como Presidente, la próxima primavera.
Yahoo! Reuters habla por el contrario de un "referéndum sobre Putin". Así que los votantes no favorables a Putin no estaban muy optimistas esta mañana.
De todas formas la afluencia a las urnas parece estar siendo elevada:
La partecipazione al voto è molto alta: l'affluenza è del 42,5% su scala nazionale alle 16:00 (le 14:00 in Italia), ovvero il 7% in più rispetto alle consultazioni del 2003. Il dato è stato comunicato dalla Commissione elettorale centrale.
Participación del 42,5% a las 4 de la tarde (las 2 en Italia, la 1 aprox. en España), más o menos un 7% más que en las consultivas del 2003. El dato ha sido comunicado a la Comisión electoral central.
Para que veais la poca diferencia entre la Rusia comunista y la Rusia actual:
La Rusia de Stalin, en 1931, por la fotógrafa Margaret Bourke-White
La Rusia de Putin (¿veis el perfil al fondo de la foto? No, no es Putin...) Residentes del asentamiento en Manturovo escuchan a Andrei Lugovoy, un antiugo agente de la KGB que ha sido declarado sospechoso de la muerte de Alexander Litvinenko en Londres el año pasado, durante su encuentro en la ciudad del sudoeste ruso en la región de Kursk el 22 de noviembre de 2007. El encuentro fue parte de la campaña de Lugovoy como candidato del partido nacionalista LDPR en las elecciones del mes que viene. Via Robert Amsterdam
- Kasparov afirma que "Putin quiere gobernar como Stalin y vivir como Abramovic". @ El Diario Exterior.
[This post is specially dedicated to my good US friend, Yankee Doodle, who, very politely, has asked me to go back to my normal way of posting both in Spanish and in English. I can't promise I will do it in every post, though, but I will try to].
The conclusion to both of these posts about Russian elections' polls are that Russia is marching through a very similar path as Venezuela is. Both Putin and Chávez are using democratic institutions and, perverting them, they are going to rule with an iron fist (if everything goes as planned by both of them) their country lands, travelling fast to the past.
As today IHT writes, there is no doubt that Putin will win at last, the only doubt is what will be the margin of difference he will have:
A huge win for Putin's United Russia party could pave the way for him to stay at the country's helm once his presidential term expires this spring. The party casts the election as essentially a referendum on Putin's nearly eight years in office. Many of its campaign banners that festoon the capital read "Moscow is voting for Putin."
"He's a good man. Any woman would love to see him in her house," said Polina Amanyeva, 58, at a Moscow polling station where she said she voted for United Russia.
"I'm sure that voters have determined their preferences and now only have to come and vote for the party whose platform seems convincing, vote for those people in whom you trust," Putin told reporters after casting his ballot at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Garry Kasparov today in WSJ (very important):
From the moment of our detention, we were not allowed to see our lawyers, even when charged at the police station. Three hours into the trial, the judge said it would be adjourned to the following day. But the judge then left the bench and returned to say that we had misheard her, and that my trial would go forward. No doubt another example of what we call "telephone justice."
As in the street and at the police station, the KGB and the OMON forces were in control. The defense was not allowed to call any witnesses or to present any materials, such as the videos and photos journalists had taken of the march and the arrests.
After the show trial was over, I was taken to the police jail at Petrovka 38 in Moscow, and here the procedural violations continued. Not with regard to my treatment, which was respectful and as hospitable as a small box with metal furnishings and a hole in the floor for a toilet can be. I wasn't allowed a phone call and all visitors were refused access. Even my lawyer Olga Mikhailova and Duma member Vladimir Ryzhkov were forbidden to visit me, despite having the legal right to do so. My world chess champion predecessor, Anatoly Karpov, for years my great rival, generously attempted to pay me a visit but was also turned away.
Yahoo! Reuters considers that this is going to be a referendum on Putin, and anti-Putin voters are just very pessimistic:
The dominance of United Russia provoked a fatalistic attitude in some voters.
"I think the result was pretty much planned in advance. I don't know who I'll vote for; I'll decide when I get to the booth," said Ivan Kudrashov as he entered Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral for Sunday Mass.
People are voting in higher numbers than in past elections (around 7% more than in 2003).
One of the main reasons of this, is precisely the Russian youths, who are seeing in Putin a leader who can be revered. This even when the opposition leaders are detained or shot, the freedom of expression is menaced and there are huge power abuses as have been denounced by several people who are near Putin.
He also announced he was going to move missiles to Kaliningrad as a counter-measure against the project to install the USA counter-missiles system in Poland and Chekia.
But Russia's problem is not in Europe even if they want to see it there and whatever some idiots say about a possible union of Russia inside the European Union.
Chinese level of economic growing is beginning to worry in Europe. And as I wrote yesterday, has been a worry to Russia from a lot of time now. Chinese influence in Siberia is growing in really important levels:
Nowhere is China's growing dominance more evident than in Siberia, a vast land far larger than China itself but inhabited by a mere 30 million Russians. Chinese goods are everywhere. In Novosibirsk, the owner of a new hotel can't think of a single thing in the place that isn't from China, from the electric sockets to the beds and furniture. The town's citizens will soon ride to work on Chinese buses; in the markets of Khabarovsk bargain-hungry Russian babushkas even know the Chinese names for the vegetables they buy from Chinese traders. "Everything we have comes from China—our dishes, leather goods, even the meat we eat is from China," complains Vyacheslav Ilyukhin, head of the Building Department at Novosobirsk's city hall. "Siberia is becoming Chinese.
But,Putin, knowing that China is not Europe nowadays, instead of confronting Chinese authorities agrees with them in most issues (for example, Iranian nuclear weapons).
They are even doing joint military exercises whose photos I posted yesterday, called Missions of peace.
At first, Russia considered truly well this influence, specially because Chinese hard-working people, who feared Chinese authorities, began to cross the border -mainly the river Amur, which is the limit between China and Russia in the Pacific border-. But as the Chinese have migrated in higher numbers and the Russians in that part are beginning to be worried about a possible takeover:
The Chinese have been slipping across the border for the last dozen years. At first, they were a welcome flow of low-wage migrant workers willing to do the menial construction and farming jobs that did not interest Russians in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse. But as the years wore on, the Chinese began putting down roots here and starting their own businesses. The Russians who once hired them now often find themselves as employees.
Today, according to regional experts, at least 200,000 Chinese live in Russia's Far East, a region roughly 5,000 miles from Moscow, and many more stay for long stretches of time. They have helped transform the towns along the border in their own image. In Nakhodka, on the Pacific coast, a shopping center built to resemble the Great Wall beckons customers. The Chinese who have settled in Vladivostok, once closed to foreigners as home to the Soviet fleet, have taken to calling the city by its old Chinese name, Haishenwei.
Of course, pro-Kremlin supporters say this is only a result of Russia recognising the superpower which is the apartment next door. I call this very quite and slow suicide.
The Russian low birth rate is another worry for Russian authorities -specially in Siberia-:
Russia, to be sure, is not the only European country registering more deaths than births nowadays--according to the Council of Europe's numbers, fully 19 European states currently report "negative natural increase." But, in other European settings, the balance is often still quite close. For example, in Italy--the poster child in many current discussions of a possible "depopulation" of Europe--there are today about 103 deaths for every 100 live births. Russia, by contrast, currently reports about 160 deaths for every 100 births.
So we can safely say that Russia IS the sick man of Europe. The question then is when will the takeover happen?
Other things to read:
- "Nobody will ever forbid criticism" @ Newsweek. Read it all. An Excerpt: Russia considers it a myth that [Georgian businessman] Badri Patarkatsishvili has contacts with the Kremlin. Could it be that the closest friend of [exiled anti-Putin Russian oligarch] Boris Berezovsky is working as an agent of Moscow?
We never called him Kremlin's agent. It is obvious, though, that president Saakashvili is a big problem for many people in Moscow and that Patarkatsishvili could be used against Saakashvili, as a destructive agent. I could suppose that Moscow promised him something in return. Moscow sent a formal request to extradite Patarkatsishvili, but they did not insist much. But as soon as Berezovsky flew over here, Moscow made a lot of noise. We are not too interested in Moscow's relationships with these two men, but we did note that the contrast in Russia's behavior was obvious.