Support for Putin’s “amendments” among the general public, according to all non-Kremlin polls, has never came close to 50% in the past couple of months. More like 30%, actually, or even less. The official “referendum” tally suggests a turnout and a Yes vote both in the upper 70s, implying 60% popular support. Pure nonsense.

The official numbers bring into relief the extent of the rigging. All Russian elections get rigged to some degree but it varies a lot from one to another. Normally, the Kremlin would try to make election results kind of believable. With a 60/60% official result, the implied 36% support from the public would have been plausible. But this time, Putin’s operatives were probably looking to please the boss, telling him he’s more popular than ever.

Apart from this dirty dealing, the amendments and the “referendum” violated the old constitution and the law of the land. What Russia has now is a constitution that is self-contradictory by itself and got adopted via an illegal procedure that included a rigged referendum. In a sense, Russia has no constitution anymore; thus, everything is permitted. But the Kremlin believes everything is only permitted to them, not the people.

An opinion consistent with the nation’s political passivity in the past decade or two but ignoring the standard caveat: Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Results may vary, as they say; proceed at your own risk.

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