Belarus lessons

By Nina Bachkatov

Whatever might happen in Belarus, the crisis that shacked the country is teaching lessons about the limits of antidemocratic regimes and the limits of outsiders’ influence. Weeks after his disputed reelection, Alexandr Lukashenko, president since 1994, is still confronted to an unusual form of contestation while his opponents face a president unwilling to follow the path of former Ukrainian president Yanukovich. Continue reading “Belarus lessons”

A second constitutional referendum – in the streets of Russia

By Nina Bachkatov & Andrew Wilson

President Putin expressed his satisfaction after a constitutional referendum that was a personal success, despite doubts about the conditions of votes or the organisation of the campaign. In the same time, the referendum tested the opposition, reshaping the border between the “non-systemic opposition” (the “liberal” opposition outside the system) and the “systemic opposition” (that takes part in the Duma and has generally backed Putin’s legislation). Continue reading “A second constitutional referendum – in the streets of Russia”

Strange elections in Russia

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Analysts continue to scrutinise the message send by Russian voters during the municipal and regional elections of 8 September to identify the winners and the losers. The sad fact is, probably, that despite the defeat of many candidates campaigning under the banner of United Russia, few liberal opponents won, and that despite big demonstrations the turnover was low. Many “independent” candidates were members of United Russia who did not need instructions from the top to make the switch, beeing too well aware that the label was a kiss of the death. Continue reading “Strange elections in Russia”

A gift for Russian opposition

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

As eyes are on football, the Russian government is launching a long due but unpopular reform of the pension system. On 14 June, the Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev signed and sent to the Duma a draft law proposing to raise the pension age from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 63 for women. The reform will be phased in over a number of years – by 2028 for men and 2034 for women. Continue reading “A gift for Russian opposition”

One fake death, two real carreers in danger

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Arkadi Babchenko is alive, but with a professional reputation in tatter. Ukrainian president Poroshenko might be the main person to suffer collateral damage of a tasteless pseudo-assassination. Continue reading “One fake death, two real carreers in danger”

In Russia opponents but no opposition

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The 18 March presidential election is Russia demonstrates how difficult it is to build and consolidate a political party in such a centralised system. In consequence, Russia has its lot of opponents, but no opposition. Suffice it to look at the choice proposed to voters, with on one side a sure winner and on the other seven expected losers. Continue reading “In Russia opponents but no opposition”

Kremlin’s receipe for a “modernised” campaign

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

This is not a secret: Vladimir Putin wants to be reelected, with a large margin and a high turnover. But he also wants to show he is in tune with 2018 Russia. Continue reading “Kremlin’s receipe for a “modernised” campaign”