Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party will probably finish with less than fifty percent of the votes. Four years ago it won sixty four percent.
As Reuters said, ‘Many voters, fed up with widespread corruption, refer to United Russia as the party of swindlers and thieves and resent the huge gap between the rich and poor. Some fear Putin’s return to the presidency may herald economic and political stagnation.’
Putin stepped down as president four years ago because of term limits and became prime minister. Despite the weekend vote, he’s expected to regain the presidency in the March 2012 election.
A few years ago, we carried a post about a Moscow Times story by Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at Washington, D.C.’s Peterson Institute for International Economics.
He argued that since 1990, both authoritarianism and public corruption grew dramatically in Russia, and that there’s a connection between the two. ‘Authoritarian rule is often used by rulers to hide and sustain their corruption,’ Mr. Aslund said. ‘According to Transparency International,’ he said, ‘the only country with higher income per capita and more corruption than Russia is Equatorial Guinea. That is hardly a standard worthy of a great nation.’
How blatant is Russia’s corruption?
Take a look at this clip from 2010.