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Putin's election victory reflects what most Russians want

03-05-2012 15:39 BJT Special Report:Russia Presidential Election 2012 |

MOSCOW, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Incumbent Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's triumph in the presidential election held Sunday will send him back to the Kremlin for the third time.

Local analysts believed the Russians' reelection of an outstanding political figure as president reflects what most Russians want: a strong leader who will bring stability and prosperity to the country.

The Russian Central Election Committee (CEC) announced here Monday that Putin won the election by a landslide.

TANGIBLE ACHIEVEMENTS

Putin, who has shown himself to be a man of action, has enjoyed the solid support of various social classes since 2000, when he was first elected president.

Supporters credited Putin with bringing stability to the nation after the turbulent 1990s, reviving the economy and ensuring the welfare of state employees, partially thanks to the windfall from oil and gas revenues.

In 2009, the Russian economy was affected by the global financial crisis and saw its worst recession in decades, with its gross domestic product (GDP) shrinking 7.9 percent.

In response to the crisis, Putin, as prime minister, and President Dmitry Medvedev fulfilled their anti-crisis tasks and ensured a considerable 4.5-percent GDP growth in 2011.

In January 2012, the country's inflation rate fell to 4.2 percent, the lowest level since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

With these tangible achievements, Putin easily defeated his rivals in the election, local analysts said.

Arkady Dubnov, a famous Russian political analyst, told Xinhua that Putin has no "real rivals" and no politicians in Russia could beat him.

The other four candidates were Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, independent candidate Mikhail Prokhorov, Liberal Democratic leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov. None of them garnered more than 20 percent of the votes.

Iliya Balahanova, 41, a public relations manager, told Xinhua that she voted for Putin because she expects continuous stability in Russia.

"Any change in the leadership will inevitably lead to a period of instability. I see nobody else except Putin among the candidates could guarantee a smooth and painless power transition," she said, adding, "Russia needs no turbulence."

Another voter, Yevgenia Martynova, a 30-year-old lawyer, agreed with Balahanova. "Putin has been the undisputed master of the country," she said. "All the other candidates have no experience in running the country."

PUTIN-MEDVEDEV TANDEM: THE SAME YET NOT THE SAME

Russia needs a 10-year stable development and any political reform should be implemented on the premise of stability, Putin stressed during his pre-election campaign.

To achieve the goal and guarantee policy continuity, Putin proposed to nominate Medvedev as prime minister in the new government. Thus, the Medvedev-Putin tandem will become a Putin-Medvedev one.

The role swap was full proof that cooperation between the two was not an expedient policy, quelling doubts about the stability of the tandem.

Before Putin's announcement of running for reelection last September, speculation that the two political strongmen were at odds had prevailed both at home and internationally.

For the tandem, stability and sustainable development in Russia have been always the priority and what most Russians want.

A man who only gave his name as Andrei told Xinhua that he had voted for Putin, "who revived the country from chaos and will lead Russia to a bright future."

During his new tenure, Putin may adopt a "super modernization" policy, and put forward social welfare and appropriate political reforms in response to calls for political change, analysts predicted.

Both Medvedev and Putin have reiterated that Russia would continue on the path of political reforms after the election. The president had even held an unprecedented meeting with opposition leaders to talk about reforms.

In late February, Russia's State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, passed a presidential bill regarding gubernatorial elections at the first reading.

The moves were all seen as signs of political reforms in the country.

TOUGH TASKS AHEAD

Analysts here believed Putin's third term would be harder than the previous two, as "Putin-fatigue" is setting in.

"Putin must demonstrate both rigidity and softness, flexibility, communication and negotiating skills, taking into account the opponents' opinions," Eugeny Minchenko, director of the International Institute for Political Expertise, told Xinhua.

Minchenko listed stagnancy and corruption as challenges that Putin has to address in the years to come.

These problems are deeply rooted in Russian politics and society and are hard to solve overnight, he said.

Besides thorny domestic problems, the president-elect also has to face several hot potatoes from outside Russia, political experts said.

Vitaly Ivanov, head of Russia's Institute of Politics and State Law, told Xinhua that another global recession might be possible.

Minchenko agreed with Ivanov, stressing that there might be several new financial crises that would affect the whole world and trigger a host of international problems.

"The world is about to enter a period of a long-time instability, to which Russia isn't immune," he said.

As for relations with the United States, some analysts said Putin would not deviate from his notorious anti-Western rhetoric.

On Sunday night, as Putin claimed his victory in the election, he accused the West of attempting to jeopardize Russia's statehood and usurp power.

However, Putin won't change Russia's international course dramatically after he is elected, Dubnov told Xinhua.

"Putin's international policy would depend on how impressive his election victory will be, because he must respond to the population's expectations," Dubnov said.

"The general mood in Russia is anti-Western and anti-American. So Putin will follow that mood - at least, in his rhetoric," he said.

As for relations with China, analysts said Russia would continue enhancing its strategic coordination and cooperation with China in various fields.

As Putin said in his pre-election campaign, China is Russia's important and reliable strategic partner.

"We are not deaf and blind. We see and hear everything and take it into account. We know our Chinese partners respect us while the Americans do not," Putin said.

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: Xinhua

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