March 3, 2012 8:07AM

Russia Primed for Strife after Sunday Elections

Sunday's so-called “presidential election” inRussia will be neither free nor fair. Prospective candidates like Leonid Ivashov or Grigory Yavlinsky were not allowed to participate. Opposition leaders were denied access to mass media with exception of an eight-day-long “thaw” in January. TV channels are overwhelmed with aggressive propaganda for current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who, through the September 24, 2011, decision to swap seats with Dmitry Medvedev, decided to come back as the president for a third term. During the special “parliamentary election” operation on December 4,  the Central Electoral Commission, infamous for mass falsifications in previous polls, hit another record by stealing between 13 to 17 million votes (out of about 50 million who did in fact appear at the polling stations) in favor of the pro-Putin United Russia party.

Putin has been running his campaign on a clear anti-Western, anti-American and “anti-Orange” platform. A special peculiarity of his campaign is that it is illegal for Putin to even participate in the election, since the Russian Constitution forbids any president fom serving more than two terms. The 1998 decision of the Constitutional Courtand the 2011 decision of the Supreme Court -- as well as the commentary of the Chair of the Constitutional Court, Valery Zorkin, in 2009 -- unequivocally confirm these constitutional provisions.

More fuel was added to the fire Wednesday, February 29, when Putin hinted that some of the well-known opposition leaders might be killed as "sacred victims."  At this moment it seems almost certain that Putin will be announced as the winner of this special operation regardless of the actual number of people who appear at the polling stations, or the number of those who would vote for or against him. It is also certain that on March 5 tens if not hundreds of thousands of Russians will go to the streets to protest.