National Security Service (NSM), Vladimir Putin

National Security Service (NSM), Vladimir Putin

Oslo Conference (Netafsen): From Friday to Sunday, Russia will hold what the Russian authorities themselves refer to as presidential elections. President Vladimir Putin (71 years old) will almost certainly win the elections, thus ensuring a fifth term in power for a new six-year term.

Potential rival candidates are silenced, killed, imprisoned, exiled, or barred from running in elections.

The Russian Electoral Commission approved only three other candidates for the presidential election: Leonid Slutsky, Vladislav Davankov, and Nikolai Kharitonov.

All three are considered Kremlin supporters, and none of them opposed the invasion of Ukraine CNN.

The selection extends to the country spanning eleven time zones. Elections are also taking place in illegally occupied and annexed territories of Ukraine.

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Karl-Henrik Knutsen is Professor and Research Group Leader at the Department of Political Science at UiO. He gave a speech about “Election Year 2024.” Security conference this week

At least 64 countries are holding elections this year, and seven of the world's largest are electing new leaders.

– An appearance of legitimacy

Knutsen says that Russia is undoubtedly a dictatorial state. He says there are several reasons why dictatorships hold elections even if the dictator's re-election is ensured through fraud and manipulation.

One reason is that dictatorships want to achieve some kind of legitimacy.

– Although it is quite clear to many outsiders that authoritarian elections are a kind of fraud and that there is no free competition, but rather manipulation, there is still uncertainty when you see an 85 percent election result. How much support does this leader really have? Knutsen says that this appearance of legitimacy, whether at the internal level in the country or at the international level, is one thing.

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-The second is that it is a very good way to get information. Dictatorships are very difficult in the sense that it is difficult to know exactly what people are thinking. They like to keep their opinions to themselves, says Knutsen.

“Then they can see where they get a lot of votes and which areas of the country they win, for example,” he says.

The third reason is to indicate force so that people “keep calm.”

– Holding elections, getting the entire apparatus up and running, and involving and mobilizing the party, is a great demonstration of strength, says the professor.

– big danger

Knutsen says holding elections poses a danger to dictators.

-There is a huge risk associated with this. He says that if we look at data across countries and over long historical periods, we see that the likelihood of regime collapse increases in an election year.

– In the short term, holding elections may be very dangerous. Simply because you get a very visible and clear event, and the opposition rallies around it, says the professor.

– Especially if the fraud is exposed, or something happens that suddenly makes going out on the streets feel safe, because you expect everyone to be mobilized at the same time. He says it is called a “focal point” in English, meaning the rallying point that pushes opposition groups into the streets.

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Opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been a vocal critic of Putin's regime. Navalny was reportedly killed in a Siberian prison last month.

Putin has been in power in Russia for 25 years. He served as prime minister only for a short period of four years, when his partner Dmitry Medvedev officially took over as president of the country.

A constitutional amendment from 2020 means that Putin can run for another six-year term in 2030, potentially continuing in office until 2036.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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