Russia after the elections: Calls for “reforms” and negotiations with imperialist powers grow louder within the oligarchy
24 March 2018
The Russian presidential elections on Sunday ended with a clear victory for incumbent President Vladimir Putin, who is now set to go into his fourth six-year term.
The weeks before the election had been dominated by the imperialist campaign over the Skripal poisoning, in what amounted to an overt provocation and attempt to pressure the Russian oligarchy, both with regard to its foreign policy and its economic policies.
The voter turnout had initially been reported to stand at just 60 percent, which would have been the lowest percentage in any presidential election since 1991. However, on Monday morning Russian officials dramatically revised the figure upward to 67 percent without providing much of an explanation. According to the final official results, Putin received 76.7 percent of the votes, the equivalent of some 56.4 million people. This was significantly more than in the last presidential elections in 2011. Significantly, Putin won about 70 percent in Moscow and St. Petersburg, two cities which, as centers of the narrow upper middle class and oligarchy, have traditionally been bulwarks of the liberal opposition.
The multimillionaire Pavel Grudinin, who ran for the Stalinist Communist Party of Russia (KPRF), received 13 percent; the far-right nationalist Zhirinovsky 6 percent. Ksenia Sobchak, a mouthpiece of a section of the Kremlin that seeks a negotiated settlement with US imperialism, received only about 1.5 percent of the votes, despite an extensive well-publicized campaign. This is the equivalent of about 1.25 million votes, which, as some pro-Putin commentators scathingly noted, was about four times less…