Russia: Politics Without Choice

By Boris Kagarlitsky, The Moscow Times, Dec 20, 2011

The surge in street protests this month was the natural result of widespread discontent that has been building up steam for several years without any outlet. It would have been difficult to predict that the trigger would be the falsified results of the elections for the purely decorative State Duma. These results came as no surprise to the public, but it seems that people were simply looking for a pretext to vent their frustrations.

The Duma elections served only one purpose: to prepare for the presidential election in March, and we all know who the winner will be. That decision is made not by voters but by a select group within the bureaucratic elite. The purpose of presidential elections is only to try to legitimize decisions that rulers have already made and to provide legal validation for a political relationship that already exists.

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