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‘It looks like a gameshow’: Russia’s pseudo-vote on Putin’s term limits

Get-out-the-vote effort includes prize giveaways while campaign avoids focus on president

Andrew Roth in Moscow
Fri 26 Jun 2020 11.46 BST

“The situation looks volatile, people are in a tough situation. Many have lost their jobs and more could lose them in the future,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, the head of the R.Politik analysis firm. “They [the government] want to hold this vote quickly and close the topic. The longer they waited, the harder it would be to mobilise the public and get the right result.”

“Putin believes he has the public’s support, that they believe in him and his reforms, and for him this [vote] is just a formality,” said Stanovaya, noting that he appeared far more invested in holding the country’s rescheduled Victory Day parade than in the vote.

The vote was targeted at stabilising elite circles, argued Stanovaya. “He needs a reference that he can show his elites and say: ‘I have public support to rule for as long as I believe I need to. No one of you has the right to discuss successors.”

There remains debate over whether Putin will actually return for terms five and six or simply wants to avoid becoming a lame duck. As he himself argued during a TV interview last week, his potential return will put to bed discussions of a possible successor for the coming four years. Or 10. Or 16.

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