THE SOURCE: “An Autopsy of Managed Democracy” by Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes, in Journal of Democracy, July 2012.
Add to borsht, vodka, and imposing fur hats another quintessential feature of Russian life: rigged elections. Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency of the Russian Federation in March after four years of running things from behind the scenes as prime minister, retaking Russia’s highest elected office on the strength of balloting that international observers condemned as fraudulent. Russians staged large, vigorous protests in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities following unfair parliamentary elections and Putin’s announcement of his presidential bid, but he remains popular among much of the electorate. “Why has Putin regularly rigged presidential elections when he has been well positioned to win them even if the competition were free and fair?” ask Ivan Krastev, the chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Stephen Holmes, a law professor at the New York University School of Law. “And why did the Kremlin rig elections in a manner so flagrant that nobody could doubt that they were rigged?”
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