The State Duma voted to prohibit referendums within one year before elections
The Russian government and the parliamentary majority, which is in the service of the government, have publicly made fools of themselves several times. However, there has never been such an ugly situation as the one that recently occurred in the State Duma. The Russian parliament voted to forbid the holding of referendums within one year before presidential or parliamentary elections. Their main reason for such a vote is that referendums are used by communists in their pre-election propaganda. It was also claimed that referendum questions are of a false character. For example, who would give a negative answer to a question like, “Do you want your rent to be adequate and affordable for your family?” A positive answer to this question would put an end to all reforms of the public utilities complex.
Well, ok, it is demagogy. First of all, politics is impossible without a bit of demagogy. Secondly, the word “demagogue” means “the leader of the people” in Greek. Therefore, if a party becomes “the leader of the people,” then one should assume that this “demagogue” label will be attached to it by its adversaries.
Most importantly, who prevents the government from making its own demagogical initiatives, which would only be welcomed by the people? They could add one more question like, “Do you agree that Russian citizens who take a large amount of capital abroad should face trials?” Or, here's another one, ”Do you agree that all the people who are in strong need of living space should move ito the apartments and mansions of those citizens whose living space exceeds the norm five or even more times?” This would be a very good question indeed, for 80% of the Russian people are in need of improvement of their living conditions. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that such an idea would be welcomed by them.
However, the government keeps on talking about unpopular measures. Why is it necessary to take such unpopular measures? The suggestion to ask people if they agree with the purchasing and selling of land caused panic in the Duma. The deputies that were against the referendum screamed that it was an appeal to start a civil war.
The prohibition of referendums is to keep the following question from being asked. Should natural resources, transportation, ect. belong to the state? Russian society demands the income that is gained from natural resources should be returned to the state. The government has the same position in this respect. Therefore, it would be very good to enjoy the support of the people.
How can you oppose the question of minimum wages or minimum pensions not being lower than the living wage? Not to mention the fact that a Russian living wage is like a colonial one. Experts were not too lazy to calculate how many shirts and socks a man could buy and not ruin the state incidentally. A living wage in a post-industrial society is supposed to include money to purchase a computer or pay for the Internet. The government removed that question. Do they acknowledge that they are running a policy of genocide against their own people?
The process of the voting was a shame. The majority could not get the requisite number of 300 votes. It could be seen that there were a lot of people both from left- and right-wing factions that did not wish to participate in the show, which was not going to bring them any fame. The results of the voting were registered after the fourth attempt.
Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Russian Communist faction, complained to PACE of the violation of democracy and human rights in Russia. That was a big mistake of his. Europe is our irreconcilable enemy. Asking an enemy for some help is absolutely out of the question. However, Gennady Zyuganov made a good tactical move. He put Vladimir Putin in an embarrassing position. The president has done so much to make Russia incorporated into the European society. Now, everybody will see that these efforts were nothing but a show. The president should understand that the wrong politics will inevitably fail. The Constitutional Court will have to sweat a lot, thinking over a way to protect an anti-constitutional law. The followers of that law fear their future responsibility. They have to use hypocrisy here and there, which is a vestige of the coming end of liberal reforms. The struggle against referendums is not yet finished. Maybe, it is just getting started.
Mikhail Antonov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov