Alexander PODRABINEK/Prima-News: Bad Traditions

From: Eagle-wng

19.6.2006 16:23 MSK
Bad traditions
Last Thursday, speaking in Shanghai at the conclusion of the Shanghai organisation of cooperation’s summit meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered musings on the vexed question of a possible third term in office and a successor.

The Russian leader again rejected a possible third term in office for himself, saying one could never demand adherence to laws when breaking them oneself. All well and good. However, he for some reason thanked those citizens who feel he has the right to remain in office. This is rather strange, when bearing in mind that this would only be possible by indeed breaking the law. Thanking citizens who wish for the law to be broken?

He also did not avoid the subject of a possible successor. The Russian leader listed the essential qualities such a person should have, the four being: decency, honesty, professionalism, and the ability to accept responsibility for decisions taken. It is understood that by listing such qualities, the president had above all himself in vision. As for a successor, the list, so Putin, was “not long”. And it would not have to be one of the two “main candidates” (well understood to mean Sergei Ivanov and Dmitry Medvedev). Candidates, according to the Russian president, could be other people, whose names today “are not heard”.

It is amusing that the president of a democratic country, in which the head of state is chosen in public elections, publicly debates over his successor. While a choice of president does not guarantee his success at the elections, it should not be forgotten how elections are carried out in Russia, and the role of the administration’s resources in them.

The concept of a successor has already taken firm root in the Russian collective consciousness, having a kind of fatal and all-conquering association independent of the country’s laws and constitution. The endless discussion of the subject, combined with the importance attached to it, are designed to convince Russian voters of the inevitability of the President’s favoured candidate at the elections, as if this were in fact part of the pre-election presidential campaign without an announced presidential candidate! The actual name of the candidate, of course, is not so important: he is, in fact, already named: the Successor, in true monarchist tradition.

Tradition. While Russia loves a strong hand and all-powerful ruler, sometimes events occur which end tragically for those very autocrats and their successors. Besides, the time is right to treat sane people for an old illness: adherence to bad traditions.

Translated by Michael Garrood

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