Tuesday, December 27, 2011
It was from Boris Yeltsin that Vladimir Putin took over power and at that time no one knew him in Russia as he was a man from secret service FSB (old KGB) but once at the helm of affairs his presence was felt The poverty ridden and starving Russia began to change slowly. The Russian economy grew during the period of his regime year after year which saw a growth of 72 percent. And as a result of it poverty decreased more than 50 percent, monthly salaries of workers increased eight fold and generally Russia could again stand on its feet both economically and politically. He eased the burden of workers by introducing a flat income tax of 13% and helped companies by cutting down profit tax. When Putin took charge the national debt was stupendous, almost as much as the G D P, but Putin paid off all the debt and created a comfortable reserve. In achieving all these in a world ridden with economic down turns and uncertainties, Putin got help from high oil prices (Putin made Russia energy surplus) and profuse foreign capital inflows. Any way it was during Putin's efficient administration that Russia made a come back with a bang. Remember, Time Magazine had chosen him as 'person of the year' in the year 2007 and only Joseph Stalin and Gorbachev had had got the title in Russia before Putin.
O.K, then what are the protesters protesting about?
Normally a person who had uplifted a country from such a depth of poverty would have become the darling of the nation. But in the case of Putin it did not happen. As said before, he has been working in the secret service before he became President. To remain suspicious of others is part of the work of secret service. Putin did not or could not shed that mindset even when he became the Head of a nation
Putin is intolerant of opposition and dissent. He imprisoned his rival Billionaire, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and anti corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on false charges. The FSB spies are said to be working in Ministries to watch any dissent and the Media was brought under censorship. The general public did not like this scrutiny and the life with spies breathing down on their shoulders. They must have felt so bad as to seek remedy for their plight to go out and protest in the night braving the freezing cold of Kremlin.
The demands of protesters who assembled in Kremlin were: 1 To free all political prisoners and those unjustly convicted 2 Cancel the results of the fabricated polls 3 Sack and investigate election commission chief Vladimir Churov 4 Register all political parties and reform electoral law before March election 5 Create a Moscow voters' association to investigate ballot rigging 6 Ask all Russians not to give a single vote to Vladimir Putin on March 4.election.
Then the question arises, did Putin bungle the election?
One of the international observers for the election was Indian election commissioner, S.Y.Khureshi.and when he was asked whether the election was free and fair his reply was, except for a minor incident of a drunken man trying to vote without identity card he could see no malpractice during the election. Indian elections are internationally acclaimed as totally free and fair and election commissioners are widely experienced in conducting fair elections. I would rather go with the opinion of Sri Khureshi than with the opposition parties in Russia in the matter. In the election Putin's United Russia Party just scratched thru for a majority of above 50%. If malpractices were done it could have been done for a decent majority. Since it is a matter alleged to have taken place inside Russia what more can be said about it.?
But the problem lays far beyond the election issue.With all his good deeds for Russia and its people Putin had no necessity to act tough in the first place. If he had managed affairs democratically giving freedom and love to his people no one would have challenged him for as long as he chose to remain in power. It was a mistake on the part of Putin to have chosen a way of confrontation when he is an efficient administrator himself. It is an example of how even the clever and smart persons often choose disastrous path in life discarding the simple obvious choices. As for the people of Russia, it is not easy to replace an administrator like Putin. Any way, though late, Putin can still peruse the path of reconciliation and amend matters with the people of Russia to begin a fresh start.