Putin and democracy: Russia is electing its president this weekend. The West is already talking about “manipulation”. Rightly so?

Russia is voting this weekend

German state TV ARD’s pundit Sabine Fischer divides the Russian population as follows: 25 percent support Putin, 50 percent can be manipulated and support Putin and 25 percent are against the war and against Putin.

Sabine Fischer
ARD pundit Dr. Sabine Fischer considers 50% of Russians to be manipulated fools – Source: ARD TV

It can be assumed that not just 25 percent, but the vast majority of Russians hope that the war will soon be over, but see it as a necessity.

Ms. Fischer offers neither an explanation nor any evidence for the claim that 50 percent of Russians are “manipulable”. Instead, she insinuates that 50 percent of Russians can be manipulated because they do not agree with the support of the population for their president.

It should be noted in advance that elections will be held in Russia this weekend. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has “postponed” the elections. An indication that the respective heads of state have the support of the people – or not.

The fact is that around 80 percent of the population support President Putin. This fact is reflected in the previous election results.

Wladimir Putin

80 percent of Russians trust President Putin – Source: ARD

The Russians are skeptics and make decisions based on results: since President Putin has been in office, things have been looking up for Russia and to the great surprise of the West – myself included – the Russian economy is growing rapidly despite sanctions and war, in stark contrast to the German economy.

Expert Fischer also claims that President Putin will subordinate everything to the war in his next term of office. This is again a baseless assertion. Obviously, Ms. Fischer has neither seen nor read President Putin’s speech of 29 February: In it, he clearly defines his plans for the next term of office: war plays a subordinate role in it, civilian development a paramount one.

Everyone is free to think what they like about such “expert opinions”.

The mood in Russia is good, Putin is trusted and the Russians are vastly superior to the NATO-backed Ukrainians at the front, so much so that the army has great prestige – 30,000 Russians volunteer for the army every month. Forced mobilizations like in Ukraine are therefore not an issue.

It is not surprising that the German media are struggling with the contentment of the Russian population, the strength of the economy and the army in Russia. Instead of looking after the interests of their own increasingly frustrated population and the struggling economy, they make claims that merely make the Russians smile.

Russia’s leadership is in control and the people appreciate this.

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This article first appeared in German in Weltwoche.