Russian referendum

Russian referendum Image: Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

AS RUSSIA reportedly gears up to back an express referendum into annexing sections of Ukraine, the world waits to see if Russia´s president is finally capable of holding a clean, unbiased election.

Putin´s previous electoral record for president makes for a somewhat eyebrow-raising read, starting with a credible 53.4 per cent of the vote share in 2000, rising to a much higher 76.69 per cent in the 2018 presidential election.

While some argue Putin has been pushed into supporting a referendum by NATO, the majority view in the west is that this continues to be another in a never-ending list of PR manouevres by the Kremlin.

Among Putin´s many claims since embarking on his aggression towards UK Ukraine came his argument that he was simply repositioning troops as he amassed soldiers on the Ukraine border.

Next came the claims that he is “liberating” Ukraine from neo-Nazism- despite the country´s leader being Jewish himself. The Russian leader has also claimed that NATO has forced his hand by encircling Russia and taking on new members from bordering countries. However, in reality Russia shares land borders with 14 countries and only five of them are NATO members, accounting for just one sixteenth of Russia´s border.

History tells us that propaganda can be a powerful- and dangerous weapon- if used in the wrong hands. It remains to be seen whether those Putin is seeking to influence will be persuaded by the latest trophy in his arsenal.


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