Putin’s WayAfter the fall of communism and the advent of democracy, the Soviet constitution was amended to delete the provision that the CPSU was the "leading and guiding" force in the political system.As a result, many political groups began to operate more openly in Russia. The constitution of 1993 guarantees further Russians' right to a multiparty system.Despite that “the Duma that results today is a democrat’s nightmare:three parties whose only ideologies are an almost slavish loyalty to President Vladimir Putin and varying degrees of nationalism, plus one made of the dregs of seven decades of totalitarian rule.”Putin’s Way examines why the “middle class did not vote as they were meant to.
”In 1991, the majority of Russian people had the opportunity to cast a ballot that would truly be counted.The ballot allowed for the people to choose between Yabloko, the social-democrats, versus the Union of Right Forces (SPS), “the self-appointed guardians of Russian liberalism.”But, in the 2003 lower house elections, neither Yabloko nor the SPS received the 5% needed to get their party-list candidates into the Duma, the lower house.However, the “Liberal-Democrats,” an ultra-nationalist party led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky doubled their vote over the last election in 1999.In second place, Motherland, “a Kremlin-backed party,” led by ex-communist Sergei Glazyev, and modern nationalist, Dmitry Rogozin, won 12.7% of the vote. United Russia, the People’s Party, came in first place, winning 19 single-mandate seats and occupying 222 seats, nearly half of the seats in the Duma.The result of the 2003 elections: “three parties whose only ideologies are an almost slavish loyalty to President Vladimir Putin and varying degrees of nationalism.
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”Having failed to amass votes, for the next few years, the two liberal parties will have nearly negligible influence.Putin’s Way provides a number of reasons for the unfortunate results of the election and for why the people voted the way they did.First, national/state run TV stations ignored the law that requires equal media coverage for all candidates.
In secluded areas, local bosses forced government workers forced to campaign, threatening their jobs.Secondly, Yabloko and the SPS failed to raise topics such as healthy care and education, “unpopular with most Russians, but something that the newly affluent might agree with.”Thirdly, when democracy hit town, a vast separation was created between the haves and the have-nots.But, “the fact that economic growth under Mr. Putin has come with more centralized control and less press freedom only prove to many that even more authority is needed.”Fourthly, the party system is a mere twelve years old, thus still young and possessing many imperfections.The 5% Duma barrier was created as a result of elections such as the 1995 one, in which 43 parties ran.The objective of the barrier is to “weed out the just-for-fun contenders.”Finally, the loss of the liberal parties is greatly attributed to the scandal involving the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the boss of Yukos, Russia’s largest oil company.Not only did Yukos fund SPS and Yabloko, but it had several its staff among their parliamentary candidates.Naturally, the Russian citizens did not want to cast their ballot for the parties funded by a criminal.A few smaller, yet crucial, details also account for the unfortunate loss of SPS and the Liberal Democrats..