News Update :

Mr. Putin is Mr. Nasty or Nice?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Russia: Vladimir Putin has a choice between embracing reform and tighten the control of the state to preserve its dominance after losing support in the elections in Russia and against the protests, analysts said.

Putin, Russian Prime Minister today, plans to extend its 11 years of rule by Russia to regain his old job in the Kremlin in the March presidential polls, which now seem a much more difficult than a week ago.

After the shock loss of his ruling United Russia party, 77 seats and votes about $ 13 million in legislative elections on Sunday, Putin's reputation for enjoying popularity has been dented invincible.

He is now at a crossroads between tightening the screws or the opening of its system of strict political control.

"The frustrations are evident and to a large extent a result of this weekend's election and may become a game changer," said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at investment bank Troika Dialog in Moscow.

"People have made their views very clear and, as is the case everywhere, governments ignore such strong statements at your own risk." United Russia won less than half the votes, a sharp drop of more than 64 percent in 2007, with many of the middle class and young voters to vote to protest the Communist party's monopoly of power.

The opposition insisted the results would have been even more dramatic in fair elections, while Western monitors said the vote was biased towards the ruling party.

Putin himself has spoken explicitly about the protests, but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov seemed to recognize a change was needed.

"Certainly, people expect that version 2.0 of Putin," he told the BBC Russian. "Obviously, the party would also have to undergo a period of renewal," he said. However, some analysts said it was impossible to expect that Putin, a former KGB agent who many blame for eroding civil liberties in the last decade, will soon become a champion of reform. "Putin will return to the Kremlin to preserve the status quo," said Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told AFP. "He has no plans for change. AFP
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