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Author`s name Michael Simpson

No Alternative to President Putin?

Or the cobweb of false alternatives
There is no alternative to Russia President Putin, most politicians and analysts say. At the same time, they are rather categorical about this. This is difficult to predict now for what candidate people will vote at the next presidential elections. But why is it implied that Vladimir Putin may be the only possible candidate? 

It is not ruled out that either the candidacies of such prominent politicians as Grigory Yavlinsky, Boris Nemtsov, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov or of some less outstanding figures may be proposed to the presidential post. Indeed, when the candidature of Vladimir Putin was proposed for presidency several years ago he was a politician unknown to majority of the Russian population. And if this happens it is not obligatory that the country will collapse.

On the contrary, the life won't turn upside down even though majority of people still strongly believe that history is the interchange of rulers. This may inevitably happen so that not any candidate will be welcomed by the electorate as people traditionally want to elect the best candidate who is perfectly experienced in analysis of the Russian and international realities and who would be particularly cautious with reforming.

Let's take popularity ratings. Do politicians and analysts mean that there is no rival to Vladimir Putin who would be so much popular among the electorate? Remember the 1996 presidential elections and the rating of Boris Yeltsin at that period? In 1996, the situation was particular: the Communist Party was quite a probable rival to Boris Yeltsin; so, even those who were against Boris Yeltsin even stronger disliked the idea of communist on the ruling position in Russia. Thus we see that ratings are extremely unsteady especially when modern methods of affecting the mass opinion are employed.

This is not right to say that there is no alternative to President Putin, because the situation when it is said there is no alternative is in fact some form of false alternative. False alternatives are used to forcedly knock something into people's heads, to make people understand that something is inevitable. False alternatives are the instrument to manipulate the mass consciousness.
 
We can go back to some episodes in the modern history. Let's take the first half of the 1990s when people who claimed themselves to be democrats were suddenly scared with the realities of the market, freedom of speech and people's initiative; then, contrary to logic they started speaking about dictatorship. No, not about the danger of dictatorship but about its necessity. Some public figures even started persuading the people that dictatorship was inevitable and insisted it was necessary to save the situation from collapse. What is more, it was said dictatorship must be democratic so that enemies of democracy couldn't turn the necessity of democracy to their own advantage.

The people faced the alternative of dictatorship that would be dangerous for democracy or the dictatorship of democracy. In other words, it was done so that people could understand that dictatorship of democracy was the only possible way, an inevitable one. In such situations an alternative is formed especially to make people see the only possible way.

The idea of dictatorship of democracy was understood at that as controlled democracy. Indeed, the alternative was as follows: either uncontrolled democracy which is similar to anarchy or controlled democracy which means order. However, those who approve of the thesis "controlled democracy" should at the same time ask who exactly is to control democracy in this case. If democracy is supposed to be controlled by power institutions based on democratic principles and by institutions of the civil society it means the very essence of democracy which requires no additional definitions. If democracy is supposed to be controlled by one branch of the authority (by the rigid vertical of power for example) or by one person or one authority, then the very notion of democracy vanishes in this case at all. Democracy or controlled democracy is a false alternative.

Deliberate contrasting of extremes is one of the kinds of the false alternative. For instance, the unprecedented Russian patience is praised as the greatest merit; the authority traditionally calls upon people to be patient when faults of high-ranking officials result in difficult situations in the country. This outstanding characteristic of the Russian people is often contrasted with bloody revolutions and Russian revolts. Is it right to consider extremes only?

It was once proposed to the people that they should choose either the power of special services or the power of terrorists. This is perfectly evident that people won't prefer terrorists in this case.

Do people understand right when they are offered a false alternative and they should first call it into question and then decide?
Before the elections the population of Russia should look into the cobweb of alternatives that fog the common consciousness and prevent people from making the right decision.

Alexander Volkov

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