Next year, Russia will hold a Presidential election and people are beginning to speculate on who might run and win. Thus far, the only candidate to be nominated by any party is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, founder and leader of the opposition LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia).
The biggest question people are asking is, ‘will Putin run again’. If he decides to do so, I believe he will win by an even larger margin than in his last election.
Here are the top five reasons why.
5. He weathered the economic storm
The decline in global oil prices, as well as western sanctions, threatened to cripple the Russian economy and many feared the worst. Under President Putin’s leadership, not only has Russia weathered this storm but has done so far better than Europe weathered the Great Recession of 2008, whose impacts are still felt in many quarters of the world, not least in Greece.
Far from negatively impacting Russia, western sanctions have helped Russia becoming increasingly self-sufficient (something many in the LDPR and Communist opposition parties had argued for, for decades). Internal production has increased and Russia continues to forge new trade deals with some of the most dynamic economies in the world.
The EU and the Obama administration wanted Russians to suffer. In reality, quite the opposite has happened. There is a joke many tell where Russians argue for more sanctions because thus far, if anything, things are now better.
4. He solidified a multi-polar world order
After 1991, George H.W. Bush spoke of a ‘new world order’ which really meant hegemony for the US and their allies in global finance and corporation-driven world government (think EU, NAFTA, TTIP, TPP). That new world order has come crashing down and more than any other country, Russia under President Putin’s leadership has been the geopolitical leader of a new multi-polar movement which has seen Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil (The BRICS countries), form a new bloc of influential and economically mighty powers. The increased relevance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is another feat that the world owes in great part to President Putin.
This has had the effect of challenging many in Europe and North America to question what the ‘new world order’ had done for them. The answer came in the forms of Brexit, Trump, the end of Hollande in France, and new leaders in Moldova and Bulgaria. It might possibly mean changes in government in The Netherlands and Germany.
In this sense, Russia did not interfere in other lands but led by example. This concept is still totally lost on mainstream media.
Russia is proud of her restored role as a geopolitical leader and many rightly credit President Putin’s steadfast style of government for this.
3. He peacefully restored lost Russian territory.
From the 17th to the 20th century, Russia’s territory had been expanding. Then in 1917, the Bolshevik’s signed the Treaty of Breast-Latovsk with the Germany enemy, instantly surrendering swaths of Russian land.
The illegal disillusion of the USSR in 1991 created a still unsolved refugee crisis, the biggest in contemporary history with millions of Russians finding themselves in foreign lands overnight.
President Putin has taken a step to correct these insults to the Russian people. In 2014, the Crimea and Sevastopol, regions who had for decades wanted to return home to Russia, conducted a democratic vote where the overwhelming majority of the population told the world ‘we’re coming home’.
President Putin helped facilitate the smooth return of the Crimean people to their homeland. For this alone, his name will always be remembered positively in Russian history.
2. People Still Remember The 1990s
The 1990s was one of the darkest periods in Russian history. Piracy, crime, destitution, social breakdown and national disgrace was the rule. President Putin has reversed these trends and built a functional, contented and increasingly affluent society that looks with pride both to the Tsarist and Soviet periods, but one which overall is looking to build a new and better future for Russia.
Had Putin not become President when the corrupt, traitorous Boris Yeltsin resigned, Russia may well have been fully destroyed from within.
People have not forgotten this and look to Putin as a beacon of stability after a dark decade. If it isn’t broken, do not fix it. Putin fixed the system and people are happy for him to continue to stay the course.
1. He has resisted western influence.
After the Cold War, many in Russia were so curious about the ‘western way’ that they naively allowed western goods to flow into their country. Along with the material objects came attitudes which never sat comfortably with most in Russia.
Today, with Burger King and Starbucks virtually everywhere but North Korea, Russia is not going to kick such retailers out, but the idea that in order to ‘evolve’ Russia needed to adopt western neo-liberal/post-modern attitudes, has gone out the window. Russians are once again proud to be Russians, even after the likes of Alexander Yakovlev (Gorbachev’s right-hand man), made them ashamed of their own history.
Putin has made Russians feel proud of their history, cultural heritage and their assured place in the world. He has made Russia great again.
If very recent American history has shown the world anything, it is that such things win elections. Beyond promises, Putin has made this a reality which is why the vast majority of Russian voters would be happy to cast their votes in the 2018 election for Vladimir Putin.