THE COST OF OPPOSING PUTIN




Mustafa AY – TDO – 04.07.2017 – Since Vladimir Putin took over the power in 2000, Russia has literally witnessed unsuccessful transition from single party system to multi-party system. There have been plenty of clashing public and intellectual opinions about it as many opposition leaders were either imprisoned or murdered. Russia, first, experienced such an unfortunate situation in 2003 with the imprisonment of Mihail Khodorkovsky who was the most prominent businessman in Russia. He’s been regarded as the pioneer championing that there should be a complete liberal economy in Russia. Additionally, he took initiatives on this way by agglomerating the country’s energy institutions under Yukos Corporation. Yukos Corp proved the fact that there was oligarchic framework which steered Russian politics and energy sector of the country. At the same time, Khodorkovsky tried to infuse Russian politicians into lobbyist activities. However, Putin refused to adopt such activities because of ingrained understanding of administration descended from KGB. That is conventionalism in the administration. For this reason, Russia has been going through strict regime under Putin, after Khodorkovsky were sentenced to imprisonment.

People’s Freedom Party leader, Boris Nemtzov, founded a robust coalition across all political spectrum, right, left and liberal. This coalition encompassed Aleksei Navalny, Garry Kasparov and Mikhail Kasyanov. The core motive lying behind this political partnership was increasing transgression of executive responsibilities. The executive branch have not confronted with an obstacle by bureaucratic circle due to there was no principle like diffusion of power in USSR. Bureaucracy has been invariably loyal to the top. So, Putin administration did not face any opposition from bureaucracy. After the Coalition partners lost the 2011-12 election to Putin, Russia encountered many demonstrations launched by those coalition partners. Nevertheless, they faded away after Putin silenced them with the aid of his loyal bureaucracy. Before legislative elections in 2016, Nemtzov was victim to a dubious assassination in Moscow in course of colossal election campaign. After his assassination, lots of question marks occupy Russian minds.

Aleksei Navalny is currently deemed as only remaining true opposition leader campaigning against Putin administration. After the defeat in the 2011-12 legislative election, when Navalny represented Liberal Yabloko party, he came into the prominence in lots of public demonstration. Especially, in 2015 when he took place in the front lines of Corruption protests, he accused General Prosecutor – Yuri Chaika – of corruption. Afterwards, this disturbed the top of executive. Besides, Navalny proceeded with his corruption campaign by featuring video footage with regards to Medmedev’s wealth and business in the internet. His video appealed many Russian citizens and protest gradually sprung up across Moscow streets. Protests were taken under control by Police force in which Navalny was joined too. As a result of police pressure on the demonstrators, Navalny and plenty of his proponents were arrested in June 2017. Today, European Human Rights Court is still watching on the lawsuit process and this makes Russian administration under pressure concerning foreign affairs.