Whilst opposition leaders may still be in up in arms about October 11’s sweeping United Russia victory, Clifford J Levy in the New York Times wonders why it is that the furor about allegations of vote-rigging seem to have very little in the way of grass roots support:
There was none of the sort of outrage on the streets that occurred in Iran in June, when backers of the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were accused of rigging the election for him. Nor the international clamor that greeted the voting in Afghanistan, which last week was deemed so tainted that President Hamid Karzai was forced into a runoff.
The apparent brazenness of the fraud and the absence of a spirited reaction says a lot about the deep apathy in Russia, where people grew disillusioned with politics under Communism and have seen little reason to alter their view.
The thinking seems to be that Mr. Putin is in charge and the opposition is feeble, so there is no point in trying to get your voice heard, no matter that the country faces serious problems.
“People are passive because they feel that there is absolutely no opportunity to change the system,” Mr. Gerasimov said.
The election also highlighted the coarse political dynamic in Russia.
Mr. Putin, the prime minister and former president, is popular in partbecause he is given credit for the economic gains and stability of thelast decade. He has also suppressed or co-opted the opposition. Fairlyor unfairly, his party had enormous advantages in the Oct. 11 electionsand was certain to triumph.