There is only one choice: Putin's regime's life imprisonment

Russians’ three-day wandering around polling stations and voting online was more of a ritual, a facade, and a plebiscite than an actual election. Why does Putin need such a process if he already has full power?

The Russian elections are not quite the political event one would expect. With a predicted turnout of over 70% and support for the only candidate, Vladimir Putin expected to exceed 87%, the elections are not part of a democratic process that involves changing or continuing power. Kremlin propaganda has turned the elections into an opportunity to praise Putin, promote war, and incite hatred towards the West. Unlike the previous elections, 2018, the latest ones have lost their democratic façade character. Everything was already evident before the announcement of the results. Putin was expected to win with a high turnout.

Six years ago, the voter turnout rate was 67.5 percent, and Putin won the election with over 76 percent of the votes. Since the 2012 presidential elections, the voter turnout rate has slightly increased, and Putin’s support has risen by over 10 percent. Although these numbers might seem insignificant, they play a crucial role in legitimizing dictatorial power. However, the recent three-day voting process was not meant to legitimize the government itself. This time, there was rather a plebiscite and a referendum to determine the direction of Putin’s policy. The tendency in question involves waging war against Ukraine, confronting the West, and taking Russia toward a totalitarian state. When Putin started his six-year rule, he decided to follow this path of war, and now he cannot turn back. He needed to create a spectacle to demonstrate that he was only fulfilling the will of a nation of 140 million people. He achieved his goal and received a referendum of widespread enthusiasm and support.

The war is our choice

During Putin’s era, every election was challenging for the Russian administration. They had to demonstrate their competence and dedication at all levels of the voting process, even in the smallest communes where technical aspects of voting needed to be secured. Most importantly, during the elections, the Kremlin power elite had to position themselves regarding the prospects of another six-year term of the winning leader.

However, this time, it was about something of greater importance. This year’s election was a direct message for the power elite to abandon the illusion of returning to life as it was before 2022 and the beginning of a two-year war against Ukraine. During the election campaign, Putin outlined his vision regarding minimal realistic chances of returning to the pre-war situation. He threatened the West and made remarks about the potential for nuclear attacks, indicating that Russia has embarked on a path of long-term and escalating confrontation with the Western world. The campaign was used to divide responsibilities officially.

Society is liable for providing military personnel and support for the defense industry and war effort. The Kremlin’s propaganda portrays the aggression against Ukraine as a battle for peace, and as such, further restrictions may need to be lifted in the name of victory. The administration should ensure that citizens support the warfare effort willingly and without compulsion. The power elite must accept this policy and fully engage in Putin’s plans without any doubts or hesitation. They must be keen to give up worldly pursuits, accept isolation, and endure confrontation with the Western world.

Perpetuum mobile

The recent election campaign that lasted for three days marked a significant accomplishment for the Kremlin’s highly cynical technocracy and social engineering. They succeeded in creating a critical mass of unwavering support for Putin’s aggressive and authoritarian policies. The goal was to make this mass strong enough to exert grassroots pressure on the power elite and prevent anyone in and around the Kremlin from proposing a compromise with Ukraine and the West, thinking about ending the war or changing policy. Anyone who goes against Putin’s path should now consider that most of society supports him.

Putin did not require elections to escalate the conflict with Ukraine or launch a new offensive. Elections have no military significance or value for the continuity of administration or command during wartime. However, the election campaign was to intensify  war propaganda as it was to mobilize  Russian society for the war effort and unite them around their leader.

-Congratulations to all Russia’s enemies on Putin’s great victory, Dmitry Medvedev wrote on the X platform on Sunday evening.

The Kremlin’s message is clear: Russia is united under Putin’s leadership and faces external enemies, particularly the West. The goal of the plebiscite is to show the West that the war in Ukraine is not Putin’s war alone but rather a war that all the Russians support. The statement is to discourage  any rebellion, war fatigue, or opposition to Putin’s policies, as it demonstrates that the chances of such resistance are slim.

In 1938, the Nazi regime in Germany held elections for the Reichstag, in which Hitler’s NSDAP party received over 99% of the vote. These were the last elections held before the onset of World War II and the eventual collapse of the Third Reich. The purpose of these elections was to estimate public support for Hitler’s aggressive policies towards neighboring countries, and they were held shortly after the annexation of Austria.

Could this be the last electoral plebiscite in Putin’s Russia? Putin, in theory, can rule until 2036, but he will have to organize another election in 2030. The question is whether his health and consent from the power elite will allow him to do so. Although the nation is currently mobilized and enthusiastic to support him, it remains to be seen if this will persist in the future.

Lastly, if the responses to the preceding queries allow Putin to govern for an extended period, will he require another electoral show in six years? The current formula indicates that in Russia, which is gradually moving towards totalitarianism, the ceremonial facade of democracy will no longer be essential.

Michał Kacewicz/

Translated by PEV.

The opinions and thoughts expressed in the text reflect only the author's views.