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Putin approaches Stalin: – He will sit as long as possible

Putin approaches Stalin: – He will sit as long as possible

Vladimir Putin (71 years old) has been Russia's strongman for about 8,750 days. He still trails Joseph Stalin by about 2,000 days – the Soviet dictator from 1924 until his death in 1953.

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The president confirmed that he will run in the elections on March 17, 2024.

– There he will be re-elected! Regional officials claim he ordered 80 percent support and 70 percent voter turnout, laughs Professor Jardar Östbo of the Department of Defense Studies.

If Putin sits for another six years, he will outpace Stalin by 200 days by the spring of 2030.

– Stalin sat for 29 years. Will Putin run again in 2030?

– As it seems now, Putin will sit as long as possible. At an earlier stage, he appeared to be bored and apparently searching for some sort of solution to transfer power to his successor. A lot has happened since then, and now there's a lot at stake, so he'll probably try as hard as he can to sit as long as possible, answers Jardar Östbo.

The professor adds:

– Now they're both PresidentPresidentJoe Biden is 81 years old. And the potential Republican Party presidential candidate Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump is 77 years old.In the United States, older than Putin.

– But when Joe Biden falters, things don't go well. If Putin does the same thing, it will be a much bigger problem, because he can set off dynamics among people, not least among the elite, where people can begin to put themselves in a position to take charge. So it's important not to catch a cold, it's even more important to look young and strong!

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Putin is 71 years old. Independent media Medusa He wrote that the Kremlin would prevent young candidates from running in the elections, because Putin would appear as a “grandfather.”

There are Telegram channels that publish conspiratorial content stating that Putin is already dead. Professor Östbo says such claims are more problematic for an authoritarian leader than for a democracy.

Will Putin, as he has done in the past, try to appear as if he has real competition?

– It may have a lower priority this time – taking into account the war and Putin's age. Not least of which is the fact that the regime relies on direct repression more than ever before.

– What does this mean that Putin needs to get more votes than before?

– Yes, with the level of repression we are witnessing now, Putin is bound to achieve a very good electoral result. Previously, there was less propaganda and greater media diversity, and there were greater opportunities for dissent. Then he did not need to get such a high percentage as now. Now it would look bad if the result wasn't so good.

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Vladimir Putin received 77% of the vote in the 2018 elections. Six years ago, he received 64%.

– Who do they stand as anti-Putin candidates?

– I think the Kremlin will be careful. In 2018, they had with them the communist Pavel Grudinin, who proved to be more popular than they had imagined. He received nearly 12 percent of the vote. This time it will most likely be Communist leader Gennadezh Zyuganov, who will turn eighty next year, answers Gardar Ostbo.

– Other candidates?

– The ultra-nationalist leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has died, but it is normal for his party to run in the elections. In this case, it may have been the new party leader, Leonid Slutsky, who “thought out loud” about this. Many Russian female journalists have accused him of sexual harassment. This does not necessarily constitute a major obstacle for the Russian politician, but he is a toothless candidate anyway.

Professor: Gardar Östbo.

– How do you think the elections will be organized now?

– It is a big task for both the presidential administration and the agencies in the regions to arrange everything, mobilize business leaders to pressure workers to vote, arrange transportation to polling stations and so on. At worst, they are forced to resort to direct electoral fraud, such as stuffing ballot papers into ballot boxes. But it doesn't look good, because it's too obvious. Ideally, they would be able to carry out this show of force on behalf of Putin without having to resort to such means.

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– What does the real opposition do?

– None of them may run for office. Alexei Navalny is in prison, recommending that his men vote for anyone but Putin. Without it being of special importance.

– Are the elections important for Putin?

– Yes, of course!

– Why?

– Because it will appear that he is a legitimate president. All heads of state want this. Then they can get a cheap point…

– Which one?

– If Russia holds its presidential elections, while due to the war it will not be possible to hold presidential elections in Ukraine, Professor Ostbo answers.

Journalist: Jelena Milasina.

Well-known Russian journalist Yelena Milashina fully agrees with Ostbo's assessment of the importance of the elections for Putin:

– It is very important for Putin to be elected, because he believes that it shows that the Russian people love him – which is strange, of course, because there are no free elections. I can't call it an election, says Novaga Gazeta journalist to VG.

– But it is important to Putin, at least after the large protests in 2011 and 2012 against the parliamentary elections at that time. Now perhaps there will be no protests, and then Putin will feel as if he was legitimately elected by the Russian people.

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