Constitutional reform Putin: the Russian opposition just to fight the project

Réforme constitutionnelle de Poutine: l'opposition russe peine à combattre le projet

The constitutional reform on which the Russians are to vote until Wednesday, will allow Vladimir Putin to maintain themselves potentially in power until 2036, but, apart from calls timid to boycott or rejection, the opposition just to fight this project.

Since the start of the voting last week, opponents of russians have denounced the vote on this reform as a farce, pointing out, for example, that copies of the basic law as amended are already on sale in bookstores.

Liberals to communists, critics of the project have been numerous, but no common front has emerged to protest the reform.

The main criticism of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny, who organized last summer’s large demonstrations in Moscow in favor of free elections, has also shown little interest.

According to experts, the deep divisions within the opposition and the tricks of the Kremlin have prevented any serious fight against the ambitious plans of Vladimir Putin.

“A lack of resources, new faces, enthusiasm, inspiration, and faith: it is the main source of the problem”, stressed to AFP Vitali Chkliarov, researcher and political adviser who has worked with the Russian opposition.

“The opposition in Russia does not believe in itself,” says-t it.

Vladimir Putin announced the constitutional reform to the general surprise, in January before you add the last-minute amendments allowing him to potentially run for two terms after the end of the current in 2024.

The changes also reinforce some of the prerogatives of the president and part of the Constitution of the principles to societal conservatives, such as the “faith in God” and marriage as a heterosexual institution.

According to various polls, a majority of Russians support the amendments to the social such as the indexation of pensions, but have little enthusiasm for the political side.

In scattered order

This reform, the first since 1993, has already been approved by Parliament, but Vladimir Putin has insisted on the fact that the Russians must pronounce them-and also via a “popular vote” intended to legitimize it.

Originally scheduled for 22 April, the election was postponed to June because of the outbreak of coronavirus and, according to experts, this report and its organization at any speed have contributed to the weakness of the response of the opposition.

For Tatiana Stanovaïa, founder of the centre for analysis A. Politics, the Kremlin has also disarmed the opposition by proposing to the Russians to decide on the reform in its entirety and not on each particular amendment.

Oppose measures popular contained in the reform, such as better pension plans and / or minimum wage, is therefore an impossible task for the opposition.

“In this situation, the opposition does not know what to do,” summarizes the expert.

The liberal party Yabloko has called on Russians to boycott a “vote of falsified, illegal and anti-constitutional”. The communist party has campaigned in favour of “no”, despite views that are often close to the Kremlin.

To other battles

Alexei Navalny, for its part, denounced the reform as a blow to constitutional government but has not done much to oppose it. According to him, debate the referendum is unnecessary because the amendments have already been approved by the Parliament and the vote will be fraudulent.

“What we have left, it is a circus with balloons”, he wrote on the Telegram.

If many of the supporters of the opposing party have been disappointed by this defeatist attitude, some people want to believe in an upcoming change.

Mikhail Samine, programmer of 20 years who has participated in protests last summer, emphasizes that the confidence rating of Vladimir Putin is down to a historic low of 59% in April, according to the independent Levada centre.

“The opposition and the society are going in the right direction,” does he want to believe.

Mr Navalny has also called to concentrate the efforts of the opposition on the regional elections in September and the parliamentary elections in 2021, instead of the referendum.

Last year, the candidates pro-Kremlin suffered defeats in the elections to the Parliament of the Moscow city through a voting system tactic advocated by Alexey Navalny.

According to the expert, Tatiana Stanovaïa, this is indeed the time for Mr. Navalny to keep his forces for another battle. “This is not his time,” she said.

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