On March 4, the 2012 Russian presidential election takes place. The likely result is a return of the current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is going to be contested by familiar and tired faces: Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Liberal Democrat, and Sergey Mironov from the Just Russia party. And, they are joined by a newcomer, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the New Jersey Nets.
The lack of political transparency, the government control over TV channels, and electoral fraud have shaken the Russian electorate’s belief in freedom and fairness of the elections process. Russia’s justice system demonstrated that it cannot protect the integrity of politics as election challenges repeatedly failed, and so did numerous other attempts to restore the rule of law. The only significant legislative action of the Russian Duma in the past four years was the change in the length of the presidential term from four to six years, benefiting the executive branch.
The outcome of the Russian elections will have implications for the country’s civic peace and political model as well as for the U.S.-Russian “reset” policy and the future of our bilateral relations. Join us as our panel of experts analyzes the forthcoming elections, public protests, and U.S.-Russian ties.
More About the Speakers
President, Freedom House
Washington Bureau Chief, RTVi Television Network
Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University
Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation