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The West Is Preparing for the Russian Elections of 2008 under the Slogan: "President Kasyanov or New Cold War"
Saidov Ruslan 12.04.2007
The question about presidential elections-2008 continues to engross the minds of the public interested. And not only in the Kremlin but also abroad. I have just taken part in the discussion of the given theme organized by the group of the British and American experts across Russia. They considered several variants.
The first variant assumes that Vladimir Putin will all the same stay for the third term. Thus nobody doubt that he will be re-elected already in the first round. It's a different matter the way it will be done. If to lead rather fair and free elections, Putin will get, according to expert estimations, 55-60 % of voices having left far behjind both Michael Kasyanov and other possible participants of elections.
However among foreign experts making speech very few people believe that the Kremlin will go on even partially free elections. More likely, they think that Kasyanov will not be admitted to them at all. Even if he will, Putin all the same "will be drawn" not true 55-60 % but "Turkmen" 75-80 %, that will be shown in the western mass-media as rough falsification.
The second variant provides participation in the elections of one of Putin's present successors - Dmitry Medvedev, Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Naryshkin or someone else. It also consists of two scripts: comparatively free and fair elections and actual parody on them. In the second case the victory of the successor in the first round, as well as hysterics in the western press, are guaranteed.
If elections will be rather fair, as experts consider, the probability of the second round is big. In their opinion, in the first round the successor supported by Putin will receive approximately 45 % of voices, Michael Kasyanov - 15-20 %.
If it's so, uncertainty will follow. On the one hand, oppositional liberal circles and forces sympathizing them in the West psychologically will appear on rise. Federal and regional officials and businessmen will be severely pressed, first of all, through designation of a reality of threats to their accounts and property abroad and also freedom of their moving over the world.
As a result, part of a state machinery in the second round can without saying a word "disconnect" or even "switch off" administrative resource and the press, deeply liberal at heart - to lose fear, completely untie oneself and start working openly on the candidate of opposition.
In such conditions real results of the second round won't have any value. As, by the way, something similar happened in the Ukraine in autumn of 2004. The West and "Other Russia" will simply declare mass falsifications and maximize pressing of the Kremlin and Russian "elite" of all external and internal channels.
In other words, the authority will find itself before a choice: to capitulate, acknowledged Kasyanov's victory even if there is nothing of the kind in reality or, having understood that a lot of Kremlin characters at once become in the Europe and the USA derelicts and objects of criminal prosecution under a clause "washing up", to stop rigidly external pressure and internal disobedience. Thus they understand that during such suppression state violence and even victims are rather possible.
The third variant - participation in elections of not one but simultaneously two Putin's successors, for example, Medvedev and Ivanov. Finally, it will also lead to the second round. At that with high probability again with Kasyanov's participation and, hence, we will again receive the variant № 2.
Thus, experts conclude, presidential campaign in Russia in any case becomes an occasion for further worsening of relations between Moscow and the West. Especially in view of the fact that the government of the USA officially declared priority of carrying out of "free and fair elections" in 2008 and as well as multiple increase in financing of "institutes of a civil society" in the Russian Federation.
I would not like to make comments on the given point of view. I shall not give names of experts - they did not give their consent to me to do it. I shall tell only that these are rather qualified people integrated into political elites of the countries.
In other words, they prepare to the elections of 2008 extremely seriously in the West. They are preparing under the slogan: "President Kasyanov or New Cold War". In the Kremlin they, certainly, on a level of intuition also feel something bad. But they can't realize what it means exactly.
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