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20 December 2012

Bye, bye Russia, hello Putinia!

A boy who turned out to have more power
than Harry Potter
President Putin does not appear to understand what the word “constitution” means. Alternatively he enjoys a level of power which surpasses that of the tsars, and verges on the magical. What is your reading of the quote below?
     A story on the BBC website today about his response to the Magnitsky Act in the United States ended with these three paragraphs:
A questioner from the Izvestiya newspaper asked him about his “authoritarian style”.
     Mr Putin denied that his system was authoritarian, saying that if that were the case he would have made changes to the constitution. He pointed out that he had taken on the role of prime minister after two presidential terms.
     “I cannot call this system authoritarian, I cannot agree with this,” he said. “If I considered a totalitarian or authoritarian system preferable, I would simply have changed the constitution, it was easy enough to do.”
     So, the situation is that the only reason we do not have a “totalitarian or authoritarian system” in Russia is because Mr Putin does not want one. If he did, he would, he says, simply change the Constitution.
     But a constitution is a basic law which exists in order that major changes cannot be made to the general governmental system by politicians without wide consultation and general, informed consent. So Russia appears not to have a constitution in the accepted meaning of the term. Therefore the country is, if not totalitarian or authoritarian, at least autocratic. The basic law is not the Constitution but Mr Putin’s ideas of what is “preferable”. The will of the Tsar is, once again, the only law. Even Harry Potter has Lord Voldemort to contend with. But Lord Vladimir Vladimirovich has nobody, not even the Russian electorate, to worry about!
     Bye, bye Russia, hello Putinia!

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