NewsPutin closer to lifelong rule as Russia prepares for election victory

Putin closer to lifelong rule as Russia prepares for election victory

What will happen after Vladimir Putin's victory? Russians do not know yet.
What will happen after Vladimir Putin's victory? Russians do not know yet.
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor
4:54 PM EDT, March 16, 2024
Vladimir Putin is set to be announced as the president of the Russian Federation again in just a few hours, marking another term where he can exert his influence freely across the country. At 71, the authoritarian leader seems poised to solidify his grip on power in Russia, potentially ruling until his demise. But what does this mean for his fellow citizens?
Since 1999, when Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly passed the reins of power to him, Vladimir Putin has dominated the Russian political landscape. Even during his brief tenure as prime minister, he remained the central figure of authority. With no doubts about his victory in the three-day elections, the question now shifts to the margin by which he will win.
Anton Herashchenko, a Ukrainian expert on Russian affairs and former advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs in Kyiv, paints a grim future post-Putin's victory. The leader's expected consolidation of power could see him at the helm till his last breath, signaling a significant shift in his role.
Democracy remains but a distant dream for Russians, a situation unlikely to change.
Putin's impending victory is set to empower him to reshape Russia according to his vision, wielding his extensive authority. Known for his nostalgia for the Soviet era, Putin aims to restore its former glory, starting with domestic policies and the internal workings of the country.
Herashchenko suggests this might be Putin's final electoral battle. Following this, the leader may seek to perpetuate his rule indefinitely. With no formidable opposition, future presidential elections could either be scrapped or reduced to mere formalities.
The idea of elevating Putin to a "leader of the nation" status is not off the table, according to experts analyzing the situation in Russia.
Political dissent and oppositional activities will face severe restrictions under Putin's reign, which thrives on instilling fear and demanding compliance from the populace. Any form of resistance is expected to be crushed, with an expansion in the repressive capabilities of the state. The secret services are set to expand their surveillance and societal infiltration, with war veterans becoming key recruits.
The prospect of free media and access to the internet seems bleak as control, censorship, and aggressive domestic policies take precedence. Compulsory military service, the return of oppressive prison systems reminiscent of the USSR, and the sealing off of Russia from the rest of the world indicate a regression to darker times.
Discussions on reviving the gulag system, complete with plans for new camp locations, are already in progress.
Furthermore, the cult of personality surrounding Vladimir Putin is expected to intensify, Soviet-style. His image and ideologies will permeate every aspect of daily life, from portraits adorning public spaces to the mandatory study of his speeches in educational institutions.

Elections in Russia, including in occupied territories, start on Friday, with Putin clearly the favored candidate. Despite the presence of four candidates, the stage is set for Putin's overwhelming victory, underscored by the efforts of his loyalists to ensure this outcome. The elections will span from March 15-17.

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