If you’re a sucker for rigged elections and skewed opinion polls, like most western journalists, you would have to admit that Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov is Russia’s most popular politician, not Vladimir Putin. Photo courtesy of RFE/RL
Putin’s Unique Popularity (Spoiler: It Doesn’t Exist)
April 5, 2018
This special video is for you, dear whingers. I find it impossible to read, three weeks running, articles discussing the unique way Putin picked up 76% of the total vote at the March 18 presidential election and see the mobs of people agonizing in the commentaries to these articles.
“Lord, how terrible! 76%. What horrible people Russians are! 76% voted for their own poverty and slavery. The only way out is emigration. It’s time to make a run for it,” etc.
Here is what I have to say about Putin’s alleged “largest percentage of votes ever” and his status as the “most popular politician.”
We simply have to get one thing through our heads. At this stage in our authoritarian country’s evolution, any moron who stands for election on behalf of the regime gets 80% of the vote. Literally. But this percentage means nothing at all.
Are you horrified by Putin’s huge vote total? Then why aren’t you groaning and moaning about the vote totals the regional governors have won in elections? Did you know you would have to try very hard to find a governor who got a smaller percentage of the vote the last time he was elected than Putin did this time round?
You don’t believe me? Here is a chart showing the percentage of votes the country’s regional leaders got the last time each of them stood for election. See whether you can find our so-called national leader, allegedly, the country’s champion when it comes to popular support.
|Ranking||Name||Region||Total Votes (%)|
|9||Alexander Yevstifeyev||Mari El||88.3|
|11||Valery Shantsev||Nizhny Novgorod||86.9|
|15||Sholban Kara-ool||Tyva (Tuva)||85.7|
|22||Alexander Drozdenko||Leningrad Region||82.1|
|31||Georgy Poltavchenko||St. Petersburg||79.3|
|33||Andrei Vorobyov||Moscow Region||78.9|
|38||Vladimir Miklushevsky||Maritime Territory||77.4|
|39||Vladimir Putin||Russian Federation||76.7|
|42||Alexander Levintal||Jewish Autonomous Region||75.4|
If I asked you what the 89% vote tally for Vadim Potomsky, ex-governor of Oryol Region (who claimed Ivan the Terrible had visited St. Petersburg), meant, you would replay without hesitating, “Nothing. It doesn’t mean a thing.”
“He had no support,” you would say, laughing.
Then why does the alleged support for Putin scare you? Do you think that, in his case, the powers that be have employed other methods for generating support?
Of course, they haven’t. They have used the very same methods. Real rivals are not allowed to stand for elections. The public is smothered with lies and propaganda. Officials rig the vote, stuff the ballot boxes, and falsify the final tallies.
These are the three factors for turning political bosses in Russia into wildly popular politicians. Remove any of them from office and they will end up in the same place where all the former champions of the ballot boxes have now ended up, whether we are talking about Shantsev, Merkushkin or Tuleyev. As soon as they are removed from office, a wave of the magic wand turns their popularity into a pumpkin.
Tuleyev had almost unanimous “support” the last time he was elected: nearly 97% of all votes cast. How many of those people took to the streets to support him when he resigned? No one did.
The new governor of Kemerovo Region, Sergei Tsivilyov, is the new proprietor of that 97%.
Under this system, if Putin were placed tomorrow with his most unpopular underling—say, Dmitry Medevedev or Dmitry Rogozin—his replacement would get the same “record-breaking” 76% of the vote if an election were called.
So, there is no reason to worry and snivel.
Dig in your heels. Get involved in political debates. Expose official lies. Tell and disseminate the truth. Fight for your country and your future.
Translated by the Russian Reader