Western Hypocrisy and the Russian Election
We preach “democracy” and practice oligarchy
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
Vladimir Putin wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes as he exulted in his presidential election victory and shouted “Glory to Russia!” The entire American punditocracy, to say nothing of the Brits, responded as one with accusations the election had been fixed, confidently predicting a “crackdown” on “dissent” as the Russian leader resumed the office he had never really left.
Yet there is very little to these claims of fraud. Of course, in every election ever held anywhere there have been “irregularities,” such as are commonplace in our very own Chicago. There is some evidence the Russian parliamentary elections were somewhat less than honest – the 99 percent pro-Putin vote in Chechnya, of all places, was particularly suspect – although no one has gone so far as to say Putin’s United Russia party actually lost.
The reality is that Putin is immensely popular in Russia, a fact the English-speaking media only admits with great reluctance. The “dissidents,” who are fawned over by Western journalists, are viewed by Russia’s vast-albeit-silent majority as a tiny faction of professional discontents with dubious motives. Putin has characterized them as professionals in the pay of Washington and London, a charge given credence by some hilarious video of a British diplomat and Russian “democracy activists” who wound up between a rock and a hard place.
Even before the OSCE report on the presidential poll was issued, the chief of the mission, one Tonio Picula, averred:
“The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt.”
Senor Picula may be unfamiliar with the details of American electoral history, but was the outcome of every US presidential election from 1936-44 ever in any doubt? “No real competition?” Has Picula looked at the Republican presidential field lately? “Abuse of government resources”? Oh please, spare us the sanctimony: what incumbent hasn’t utilized the power and prestige of incumbency to win reelection? Western politicians hand out goodies to their supporters, and then bus them to the polls on election day: why should we expect a Russian election to be any different? We’re told pro-Putin voters were bussed from polling station to polling station, engaging in “carousel voting,” and yet the Russian election seems relatively clean compared to how the process was conducted in the Iowa and Maine GOP primaries.
This charge of a lack of competition is ironic, given the system we have here in the United States, which effectively ensconces two state-supported and state-subsidized parties, giving them a monopoly on the political process at the state and federal levels. These two parties are, in legal terms, effectively extensions of the state, and they have managed to not only preserve but reinforce their privileged status. If only the OSCE and the “human rights” crowd turned their attention Westward, say to California, where an “top-two” system has effectively banned third parties from the ballot...MORE...LINK