According to Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prevailing unity around Putin renders the democratic election process irrelevant and burdensome.
Speaking to Russian media, Peskov suggested that democratic elections have evolved into a “costly bureaucracy” that lacks purpose due to the perceived widespread support for Putin.
While acknowledging that elections are a tenet of democracy, Peskov stated, “Theoretically, they don’t necessarily have to be conducted,” in an interview with state media outlet RBK.
Peskov clarified, “It’s evident that Putin will secure victory. This is entirely my personal viewpoint.”
This statement from Peskov follows his recent comments in The New York Times, which he claims were inaccurately portrayed. In an article published on August 6th, Peskov referred to the Russian presidential election as “costly bureaucracy” and predicted Putin’s re-election with over 90% of the vote.
The discussion on Russian democracy emerges amid the recent conviction of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was found guilty of extremism by a Russian court.
Navalny, who is currently serving a nine-year sentence for separate political charges, has now been sentenced to an additional 19 years. In response, Navalny conveyed to his supporters via social media that he realizes he is essentially serving a life sentence due to the duration of his own life or the continued existence of the current regime.
Navalny, a prominent critic of Putin, has been actively involved in anti-corruption efforts and has protested Kremlin policies. In 2020, he sought medical treatment in Germany after being poisoned with a nerve agent, only to be arrested upon his return to Moscow in January 2021.