Putin’s election victory and Russia’s quest for a new direction

Putin’s election victory and Russia’s quest for a new direction

Editorial note: This article was written before the terrorist attack in Moscow on March 22nd.

Vladimir Putin emerged victorious in the presidential elections once again.

With a record-breaking turnout of 77.44%, Putin gained 87.28% of the votes. He will lead Russia for another 6 years.

Two tangible outcomes of the elections

The election results as well as the consolidation of Putin’s power in domestic and foreign policies signify these two realities:

1. Attempts for regime change in Russia parallel to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine have failed.

2. The election campaigns and results of opposition parties, particularly the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), underscored that there is no alternative to Putin under the current circumstances.

Ideological quest accelerates

With the conclusion of the elections, it is likely that the ongoing quest for a comprehensive political program/ideology in Russia will accelerate.

Namely, Russia, together with the war against the West in Ukraine, has been taking steps to break away from the economic and political structures integrated with the West since the 1990s.

These steps, particularly taken in the economy due to Western sanctions, have been prominent. However, this new tendency, lacking a comprehensive program, hasn’t made itself felt significantly in politics, administrative structures and or cultural spheres.

Considering the current international political landscape – the possibility of open warfare between the West and Russia is increasing – the quest for an economic and social program convenient to war with the West will accelerate in the new era.

The program that will emerge from the various components of Russian political life (Nationalists, Communists, Church, Eurasianists, and Liberals, despite the latter’s influence being curtailed by the war) will either be based on a consensus highlighting commonalities among the components or result from the deepening contradictions among them with one group’s leadership.

The current political climate indicates that all political actors, except Liberals, agree on resisting Western impositions. However, it is also evident that they have different opinions, especially concerning the economy and management administrative structure.

Signs of a new era

Following the presidential elections, the discussions held between Putin and the leaders of parties in the Parliament provide clues about the agenda of the new era.

In this meeting, Putin targeted bureaucracy and those who act in the interests of corporations: “There is a lot of stupidity and injustice in our people’s lives starting at the lowest level and going all the way to the top. We cannot sit on our laurels now and say that this is all gone, that now we will take our seats as usual and will start functioning. No (…) I would like to call on you to focus on our cause instead of corporate and even party interests by selecting people for their personal and professional qualities, their ability to deliver on the objectives we will have to tackle.”[1]

In the same meeting, when Communist Party of the Russian Federation leader Gennadiy Zyuganov criticized Putin, recalling Alexey Navalny’s candidacy in the 2012 Moscow mayoral elections: “Navalny didn’t fall out of the sky. I witnessed how he was brought to this stage by some of your assistants. When he was nominated in Moscow, were you aware of what you were doing? You are bringing together individuals prepared by (foreign) intelligence agencies to blow up the country again.”

Putin’s and Zyuganov’s statements could be interpreted as the first signs of possible moves towards purging liberals within the bureaucracy who advocate for reconciliation with the West instead of war, and parallelly who safeguard the interests of the private sector.

Is Odessa the next front?

There are talks about the acceleration of Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine, heading towards Odessa with the arrival of spring.

French President Macron’s emphasis on Odessa in his statements and his declaration of sending troops there also supports this.

In the current period where the direct confrontation between Russia and NATO over Ukraine is being discussed, the new ideological quest in Russia is not only significant for Russia but also for humanity.

[1] http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73684/print

Onur Sinan Güzaltan
Onur Sinan Güzaltan was born in Istanbul in 1985. He had his Bachelors's degree in Law, from the Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne Universty /Paris XII and a Master's degree in International and European Law. He got his certificate of diploma equivalence at Galatasaray University. Later, he got a Master's degree in International Trade Law, at the Institut de Droit des Affaires Internationales, founded jointly by the Sorbonne Universty and the Cairo Universty. In this process, he had served as the Cairo representative for the Aydinlik Newspaper. He has several articles and television streams within the international press, in such as People's Daily, Al Yaum, Al Ahram, Russia Today FranceAl Youm Al Sabea. In addition to being the author of the Tanrı Bizi İster Mi?, a work that studies the 2011-2013 political period in Egypt, he had also contributed to the multi-author study titled Ortadoğu Çıkmazında Türkiye, with an article that focused on the Turkish-Egyptian relations. While currently working as a lawyer, he also writes a weekly column for Aydinlik Newspaper on the subject of international politics and geopolitics.

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April 2024