Russia: How has Putin ended the opposition in the last 20 years?
Looking at the political history of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who scared the world by attacking Ukraine, he has virtually eliminated the opposition in Russia in the last two decades and is the longest reigning monarch after Joseph Stalin. He has also found a way to become. To eliminate the opposition, Putin adopted every method, which was once adopted by the German dictator Adolf Hitler. In Russia, the President is elected every 6 years. Putin was elected to this post for the fourth time in the year 2018 and his term is till 2024. In Russia, Putin is considered a tough ruler to settle his opponents and says that he is also famous for getting his arbitrary decisions from parliament.
But about two years ago i.e. in July 2020, Putin changed Russia forever. Although his United Russia Party and its supporters already believed so, but the change he made two years ago is historic. In June of the same year, the people of Russia received a message on the phone that they had been registered to win prizes worth millions.
In fact, a referendum was held in Russia to amend the Constitution. Then most people voted in favor of the amendment. Rewards were kept for as many people as possible to vote. Although the main opposition Communist Party of Russia also staged a protest against this constitutional amendment, but it did not have any effect. The idea of this constitutional amendment was also of Putin. Russia’s parliament had already passed the amendment, but Putin also got the public’s seal on this idea and now the way for Putin to stay in power till 2036 was cleared. It is possible that he will become the leader in power longer than Joseph Stalin.
By the way, there has been no independent investigation of this voting which lasted for seven days. The opposition also made allegations of irregularities in voting, but this did not make any difference to Putin. Although Putin had said about the constitutional amendment that he has done this to strengthen democracy and give a better government, but many experts in Russia believe that this is his change plan. Meaning, after being in power for 20 years, he has some personal interests, friends, he has a system. How can he just disappear?
The biggest question was that when his presidential term ends in 2024, what will happen then. So what will be achieved by this constitutional amendment? According to experts, the first thing is that now the powers of the President will be a little less and no one else will be able to remain in power like Putin and for as long as Putin. So far, the presidency of Russia is considered more powerful than any other country because the President of Russia can also dismiss the Duma, that is, the parliament there.
Second, with this amendment, the powers of the Parliament will increase slightly. Till now the President appointed the Prime Minister and the Duma used to approve that decision. Now the Parliament will be able to appoint the Prime Minister and then the Prime Minister will form his cabinet. Putin himself said that this means that the President will not be able to reject these candidates. He has to obey the words of Parliament.
The third important thing is to increase the powers of the State Council and recognize it as a government agency. Now this State Council will act like a judge. Meaning whenever there is any dispute, the decision of the State Council will be final. There are rumors that Putin could be the head of the new State Council. If this happens, then his decision will be considered as the final decision. That is, in a way, everything will remain under their control. But understanding Putin is not so easy. No one knows what they are about to do.
By the way, in August 1999, the then President Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister. When Putin became prime minister for the first time, hardly anyone in Russia knew him. People only knew that he was from St. Petersburg and worked in the Soviet Union’s intelligence agency KBG. But when he came, it was such that his approval rating reached 80 percent. Any leader in western countries can only dream of such a rating.
Many people believe that this rating is due to the image that government channels have created. It is well known that after coming to power, he first controlled the media. Another reason was also that there was no strong opposition in front of him. His opponents were either deported, or remained in jail or they died.
By the way, the biggest victory of his two-decade-long tenure is said to be the annexation of Crimea, part of neighboring Ukraine, in February 2014. The whole world could not stop him. This was a big blow for the West. After that Russia also faced the restrictions of Western countries, but still Russia did not weaken.
During the last presidential election, opposition leader Alexei Navalny exposed the enormous wealth of Dmitry Medivedev, a close aide of Putin, due to which Navalny was also well-liked among Russian youth. But he was convicted in an old case and his candidacy for the presidency was banned. It is alleged that Navalny was given dangerous poison mixed with tea on a plane while returning to Moscow from Siberia in August 2019 to hide from Russian politics. As soon as he drank it, his health started deteriorating and he suddenly fainted. After this he was admitted to a local hospital there. On January 17, 2021, Alexei Navalny, who returned to Moscow after undergoing treatment from Germany, was jailed by the Russian government for violating parole rules. He is in jail since then.
Earlier in 2015, Boris Nemtsov, a staunch opponent of Putin and former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, was also shot dead in Moscow. According to media reports, Boris believed that the annexation of Crimea was a unilateral decision of Putin, which Putin took in personal interest. He was about to reveal something about it, but before that he was murdered.
The opposition in Russia is negligible, so Putin has a tremendous hold on the media. It is said that the same news is shown in Russia, which supports Putin’s decisions and runs propaganda in his favor.