Vladimir Putin’s political advisors have done a good job: dismissal of the Cabinet and all subsequent events (nominating new Prime Minister and Cabinet members) will draw attention of the public exclusively to the President.
The presidential candidates from opposition (Khakamada, Kharitonov, Rybkin) can claim that the coming presidential elections are not legitimate as long as they want and even call to boycott the elections. From now on, nobody is interested in these petty intrigues.
Until recently refusal to continue running for one of the most well-known opponents of Vladimir Putin in the election campaign – Irina Khakamada, Sergey Glaziev or Nikolai Kharitonov – could become major news. In this case, opponents of Vladimir Putin (both in Russia and abroad) would have a brilliant opportunity to exploit the issue of “unfair” elections (like performing a boring play in a provincial theater). Today this frustrated sensation is beaten by the dismissal of the Cabinet. No doubt that political circles and the press will discuss nominations for the future Cabinet and its policy, and the issue of presidential elections will become of smaller importance.
Vladimir Putin and forces supporting him will be in a better position than his opponents. Opinion prevails within Russian society that the President is thinking about the situation in the country and reacting on the criticism of the government and its policy even at the moment when he should be concerned most about coming presidential elections. Opinion about his opponents is different. The public thinks they do not know how to draw attention to themselves and therefore were plotting intrigues on withdrawing themselves from elections. However, the President dismissed the government and in this way terminated their plans. Under such public perception, it will be very hard for the opposition candidates to continue their election campaign, GAZETA wrote.
We will see interesting elections
Head of Russian Central Election Committee Alexander Veshnyakov believes that the dismissal of the government will make presidential elections more interesting.
Alexander Veshnyakov said that Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismiss the government corresponds with Russian Constitution and legislation on elections. According to Mr. Veshnyakov, the dismissal of the Cabinet will contribute to conducting open and democratic elections because the public “will know the names of new Prime Minister and key Cabinet members”. In this way, the President allows the voters to make judgment on the team he would work with if elected for the second term. Mr. Veshnyakov also sees some disadvantages in such openness of the President. “The more open you are, the more questions to you arise”, he said.
Judo wrestler Vladimir Putin has won this fight.
Opposing presidential candidates are greatly frustrated. Irina Khakamada called the government dismissal “destabilizing the situation in the country”. She explained that the newly elected president would be required to replace the Cabinet again after being elected, in accordance with the Constitution.
Nikolai Kharitonov believes that the President’s decision is an attempt to improve his rating and “make the votes love him”. Mr. Kharitonov said that “one can trust neither the deeds of the President nor the ones of the government”.
On the contrary, Sergey Glaziev greeted the decision of the President. According to Mr. Glaziev, the government of Mikhail Kasynov was “absolutely not professional”, but final conclusions can be made only after the new Prime-Minister and Cabinet are nominated.
Sergey Glaziev said that the government should have been dismissed much earlier. It is early to say, but the plan for preserving the current economic policy can be implemented by dismissing the government. The new Ministers can be the former Cabinet members conducting the same economic policy. The votes have already expressed their “vote of no-confidence” based on the results of the elections for the new Parliament.
On the whole, the government dismissal became unexpected event for Russian elite. Rumors of possible dismissing Mikhail Kasyanov were constantly circulating, but most politicians did not think it would happen on the eve of presidential elections.
According to experts, Vladimir Putin will improve his rating (it will exceed 70 percent). Director of Mark Communication consulting group Sergey Markelov said in a RBC interview that Vladimir Putin was in need of taking measures to become “the core of election campaign” and draw “the public attention” to himself.
Anti-Putin forces were unable to elaborate an agreement.
Irina Khakamada has refused to withdraw from the run. “I will go the whole hog despite Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismiss the government turns the elections into plebiscite”, she said.
Ms. Khakamada confessed that the attempt to consolidate protesters had failed. Earlier she told she could withdraw from the run and called the other opposition candidates (Sergey Glaziev and Nikolai Kharitonov) to follow her. “The offer was been made, but they rejected it”, said Irina Khakamada.