Little suspense over the Russian vote. What comes next is less.

Little suspense over the Russian vote.  What comes next is less.

Maria and her husband, Alexander, will run against President Vladimir V. in this weekend's presidential election. Putin is set to become Russia's president for a fifth term.

But the couple, who live in Moscow with three children, aren't sure what will happen next. Foremost in their minds, Mr. Fears that Putin, having won a new six-year term, could announce another mobilization to fight in Ukraine. In September 2022 Mr. Alexander, 38, who left Russia shortly after Putin announced the first mobilization, but has recently returned, is even considering leaving the country again, his wife said.

“I only heard about the mobilization – that there is a planned attack in the summer and that the rotation of troops is needed,” Maria, 34, said in a WhatsApp exchange. Fearing government repercussions, he refused to allow the use of the couple's surname.

Many Russians are worried about a number of issues ahead of the three-day vote starting Friday. Although Russian officials deny that another mobilization for war is planned, an unease persists.

Mr. The likelihood that Putin will use his unfettered power to make changes that he avoided before the referendum appears to be grounded. Denis Volkov, director of the Levada Center, one of the few independent pollsters in Russia, said those concerns are still mainly felt by a minority of Russians who oppose the government.

While a possible mobilization is the biggest cause for concern, there is also uneasiness over finances and the economy. Few Russians worry that the ruble Dead end The government, which fell last year, may have allowed depreciation to rise again, raising the cost of imports. Businessmen worry about higher taxes, and opposition activists expect more crackdowns on dissent.

See also  Grand Theft Auto 6 leaks may come from Rockstar employee's son

“People are very interested,” Nina L. Nina L. Khrushcheva Professor of International Affairs at the New School in New York City. “Uncertainty is the worst, as the Russians are accustomed to uncertainty.”

The concerns reflect the current mood in Russia, where many have learned to hope for the best but expect the worst. Experts say the uncertainty has been exacerbated by a government.

After more than two decades in power, Mr. He is therefore relatively free to act as he pleases.

Some experts may use the results of the Kremlin poll — Mr. It is expected to be a resounding victory for Putin – and to crack down on dissent and escalate the war in Ukraine, which they say will be a brisk “special military operation”. But it has become a slogan that has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.

“In a totalitarian election, the results are predictable, but the consequences are not,” Russian political scientist Yekaterina Shulman said in a written response to questions from The New York Times. “If we decide that the system was good and everything is fine, then the post-election period will be a time for people to make decisions they don't like.”

Ms. Shulman, in 2018 Mr. He pointed to Putin's last re-election as an example, followed by Russia's retirement age which has become very unpopular.

Elections in Russia are tightly managed by the Kremlin, through its near-total control of the media and state institutions, and its workers are often pressured to vote. The election machine filters out unwanted candidates, and opposition activists are forced to flee or end up in Russian prisons. The country's most prominent dissident, Alexey A. Navalny died last month in the Arctic penal colony where he was imprisoned.

See also  Wall St. Pavel succeeds with testimony, upcoming data focus

Although the outcome of the referendum is not in question, Russians are still interested in the process. Mr. To invade Ukraine in February 2022.

A Moscow consultant who works with Russian businesses said some of his clients had deliberately planned new share offerings on the Moscow exchange so that they could expect a relatively quiet period before the vote. He requested anonymity to avoid jeopardizing his relationship with his clients.

After the auto market analysts, Russian consumers also rushed to buy cars at the beginning of the year recommended The pre-election period may be the best time to buy, as the ruble may depreciate after the vote. Compared to the same period last year, the number of new cars sold in Russia rose by more than 80 percent in January and February. According to For Avtostat, a news website about the Russian automotive industry.

Traders are worried that the government will raise taxes after the referendum. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin said the government would create new tax rules for individuals and private companies, and experts said taxes would likely rise for both groups.

Yevgeny Nadorshin, chief economist at PF Capital consultancy in Moscow, said companies are particularly concerned about tax increases and higher labor costs. “It will affect Russia's competitiveness,” he said.

Mr. Nadorshin also noted widespread rumors of another troop mobilization, which, if it were to occur, could further restrict the labor market for businesses, he said.

Levada Center's Mr. Volkov, like most Russians, adapted to the new world after seven months of demobilization after the initial shock of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Much of this is the result of government efforts to boost morale by ensuring the country's economy is healthy and pumping money into its industrial sector.

See also  NASA abandons spacewalk after astronaut suit leaks

“Resources have been radically redistributed in favor of the majority, who now feel they can live a normal life without being directly involved in the war,” he said, referring to higher wages for factory workers and various social benefits.

However, Mr. He pointed to what he said was a growing polarization between Putin's supporters and opponents.

“Today the mutual misunderstanding is bigger and more serious than ever,” said Mr. Volkov said.

Many Russian anti-Kremlin activists — both in the country and abroad — fear a new crackdown on dissent.

Yevgeny Chichvarkin, a Russian businessman and opposition activist in London, said he believed that after the election, dissidents would face a clear choice between fleeing or facing prison.

“Nothing helps; The choice is to go to jail or leave the country,” he said Interview With Zhivoy Gvozd, an independent Russian news agency.

But some analysts, Mr.

“The organization cannot always be in a state of mobilization and stress” said Aleksandr Kynev is a Russia-based political scientist specializing in regional politics. “If you give too much power to the security services, tomorrow they can remove you from power,” he said. “Vladimir Putin understood that very well.”

Alina Lobzina Contributed report.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here