Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Political support based on economic insecurity

Michael Schwirtz explains for the New York Times why many people support Putin's candidacy.

Fear of Return to ’90s Hardship Fuels Support for Putin
It takes little more than a half-hour train ride from Moscow and a few hours walking the muddy streets of this raw, working-class suburb to get a sense of why Vladimir V. Putin will almost certainly win Russia’s presidential election on Sunday…

[F]or many here in Lyubertsy and other hardscrabble towns across Russia, any desire to live better is outweighed by a persistent fear of living worse. And there is no guarantee that things will remain on track without Mr. Putin at the helm…

Since announcing in September that he [Putin], not Russia’s current president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, would be running in Sunday’s election, he has repeatedly sought to remind Russians of the hardships they suffered in the years before he took power.

“Under the flag of democracy, in the 1990s we received not a modern government, but an opaque fight among clans and numerous semifeudal fiefdoms,” he wrote in an opinion article last month. “We received not a new quality of life, but huge social costs; not a just and free society, but the highhandedness of a self-appointed elite, who openly neglected the interests of simple people.”…

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