For the first time, in the summer of 2015, a proposal to hold early presidential elections came from the lips of Alexei Kudrin. The transfer date (according to the Constitution the vote should be held in March 2018) could mobilize the electorate and allow Putin to preserve its mandate for the next six years. Kudrin believes that in the new presidential term, Putin should carry out necessary but unpopular reforms (like raising the retirement age or taxes). The President in his December press conference said that early elections “are possible, but impractical”. This statement seems interesting as it used to be that they, on the contrary, necessary, but impossible without consideration of the legal nuances associated in particular with the right of the incumbent to participate in them.
The idea was considered rather seriously especially in the spring of 2016, when low oil prices began rapidly to melt the reserves that were needed to cover the budget deficit. With the decline in revenue became more difficult to Finance inflated social spending, and without them could melt and power ratings.
The Russian President likes to be seen as strong and decisive leader, of which can dream even the citizens of other States. He also likes to “Shine” in the company of world leaders. When at the summit of “Big twenty” in Australia, Putin did not pay attention, he left before the end of the event, and when in the autumn of last year, Francois Hollande has decided to reduce the visit of the Russian President, the meeting did not take place. In this context it is worth remembering that in the summer of 2018, the entire world will be facing Russia and the proximity of the world Cup. The tournament will begin just three months after the constitutional date of the elections and a month after the inauguration of the President.
It is difficult to predict what the mood will be the time to reign in Russia, if the government can give to citizens only circuses, not bread. The picture will be seen all over the world, will not a state television, and hundreds of thousands armed with smartphones foreign fans. Russia “sells” in the championship of his face, and the protests or killings of opponents of the Kremlin in the sight of foreign guests will be Russian authorities a big problem. The possibility of the outbreak of mass protests declined when they began to increase the price of oil. In the fall of 2016 to the Russian budget again began to receive additional petrodollars. Public, the situation looks quite stable, and its stability is additionally ensured by the state media. If everything will remain the same, with the elections will “wait” until the spring of 2018. This means that reform (of government if they dare) will begin in the autumn of 2018: after the world Cup and summer holidays.
A year and a half break between the parliamentary and presidential elections resulting from the constitutional reform of 2008, is for Russia, new. Earlier in December held elections to the Duma, and in March of the following year he was elected the head of state. During the election campaigns, social and economic life was shaken by the hidden agendas, the manifestation of which often become high-profile scandals, arrests, bold statements or open letters, and after this marathon lasted for a few years a period of peace and tranquility. Now the break between the parliamentary and presidential elections lengthened, which created additional tension in government circles. The voting itself is a mere formality, which is why many are interested to move it to an earlier date.
The organization of early elections will not bring additional costs because the costs of presidential elections inherent in the Federal budget for 2017. The Central election Commission receives all funds in full at the time of the start of the election campaign, and that, if elections are appointed to March, will begin in December. The same situation was with the elections in 2012: the money they were allocated in the 2011 budget.
High rating of Putin is not in danger. To the fore the need to ensure a good turnout. Masses should support the President not virtual, but real. In the Duma elections the goal was the opposite: in a high voter turnout, the authorities were not interested. According to unofficial information, the Kremlin’s plan puts these guidelines: a candidate obtaining 70% of the votes with a turnout of at least 70% (fantastic results the organizers to strive not to be). However, voters need to bring to the polls, and confidence in the victory of their candidate will act on them raskraivajut. Therefore, the necessary electoral intrigue.
Director of the Russian center of studying of public opinion Valery Fyodorov in an interview with RBC said that it can be built in support of the candidates or the election program. You can also take advantage of the international situation: citizens are easier to mobilize, suggesting to them that a hostile and changing world threatens the greatness of Russia. What methods will encourage voters to come to the polls, the Kremlin will decide.
Vladimir Putin, as was the case in previous campaigns, has not yet announced its participation in the elections. In conversation with the staff of one factory he shared his dream of becoming a pensioner-traveler. Meanwhile, the public persona have already started, traditionally, to urge Putin to stand as a candidate. This hope was expressed, in particular, Kremlin press Secretary Dmitry Peskov. While the greatest courage distinguished actor Vasily Livanov, who believes that Putin has no right to refuse to participate in the presidential race, even if he will turn his eyes to heaven, he will hear out the voice of the Motherland, saying, “don’t Even think”.
The desire to nominate his candidacy Alexei Navalny said. In December 2016 he first began to raise funds and attract volunteers. This happened on the background of the resonant decision of the Supreme court, which agreed with the verdict of the European court of human rights, sending one of the cases against the opposition for a new trial. The abolition of the sentence, as mentioned, was part of a deliberate strategy of the Kremlin, decided to allow Navalny to participate in the presidential elections. But if such plans and was now refused them.
The Navalny case reviewed again at an accelerated rate (a consequence of not re-performed, re-arranged a trial). The court again appointed Navalny a suspended sentence, but the opposition leader drew attention that the sentence coincided with the previous down to the commas and typos, saying they did not abandon their strategy and campaign. Will he be able to take part in the elections, is unclear: the Constitution excludes, in this case, only the people serving real prison time, however, the law on guarantees of electoral rights said in General about people convicted of serious crimes (regardless of punishment). The question is, does the law specify the constitutional provision or the expansion gives an interpretation (what it can not do). The legal opinions on this subject diverge. The final verdict will be reached by the constitutional court: Navalny promised to fight to the end.
The intention to nominate a candidate from the liberal democratic party of Russia said recently, Vladimir Zhirinovsky. His populist slogans and scandalous in nature can positively affect turnout, so he will get the support of the Kremlin. The two other parliamentary parties, the CPRF and “Fair Russia”, engaged in the search for candidates. Gennady Zyuganov and Sergei Mironov participated in the previous elections, is unlikely to mobilize voters, so the race may be new faces, however, they will play the traditional role of “extras.”
An indicator of the sustainability of the system become the autumn parliamentary elections. Results of “United Russia” turned out to be remarkably high. This means that state administration at the lower levels is able to provide the authorities with sufficiently high support. But there is a flip side to the coin. In fact, the Federal government was defeated, the balance of forces in the Duma of the new convocation had to look in a different way. Regional leadership is overdone. Later Putin himself had to suggest that the allocation of posts and places in the working groups remained the same as in the previous Parliament. Additional evidence of the excessive zeal of the Pro-Kremlin officials gave the CEC Chairwoman Ella Panfilova. At the meeting with the President she said that the electoral violations were recorded in 23 subjects of the Federation, and some of them were very serious. Guilty in this situation she called the regional leaders who misuse administrative resources. How to punish violators, Putin will decide.
Seeing how easily managed the “United Russia” to “correct” the results of the parliamentary elections, the regional authorities during the election of the President may become less vigilant and careful. The people’s will will apply to Putin himself, so the desire to curry favor with him, providing him with a high percentage of votes, will be particularly strong. The less care, more evidence for independent observers and activists. The possibility of their influence, of course, we should not overestimate, however, their reports and conclusions can help to ensure that abroad there are doubts about the legitimacy of the entire Russian system. And Putin no doubt this area can not allow.
This election intrigue will appear after the formal conclusion of the presidential campaign. From the first day of the new presidential term will start talking about “the problem of 2024” (when Vladimir Putin’s presidency must, by law, to come to an end) and, as discussed in the “problem 2008,” reflections on the constitutional limitation that does not allow the President to hold office more than two consecutive terms.