View from Washington: “The real vote was about Putin and his leadership”

10:05 20.03.2024 •

Putin Emerges Stronger than Ever, writes Stephen Bryen, a former US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. Ukraine's attempt to interfere in Russia's Presidential election has backfired.  Putin's internal support is stronger than ever.  The geniuses in NATO and in US intelligence simply failed to understand Russia or the Russian election system.

He notes: I was a Presidential election observer in two countries: Uzbekistan and Taiwan. They are as different as night and day.  The contrast is important now that Russia has completed its presidential election.

The American and European press is full of nasty characterizations of the Russian election, calling it a sham and a fraud, and spewing out the usual arguments about the suppression of the Russian opposition and the "resistance" to the vote in Russia.

The real vote was about Putin and his leadership.

Millions of Russians voted. The Ukrainians were so concerned about the election that Ukraine mounted a suicidal invasion force to try and stop voting in the Russian areas bordering on Ukraine, especially the Belgorod city and region.  Over the three days of the Ukrainian operation, Ukraine killed 11 civilians using drones and rockets and injured another 82, including nine critically.  One election official counted among the dead, as did a thirteen year old girl (her father was seriously injured when their car was hit by a drone strike).

Ukraine launched hundreds of drones fired at targets inside Russia, some aimed at Moscow and others at St. Petersburg, mainly at power plants and some airfields including Domodedovo in Moscow. Domodedovo, located south of Moscow, is the second busiest airport in Russia after Moscow’s main international terminal, Sheremetyevo.

The Ukrainians assembled a strike force that included around 1,500 Russian speakers in a special unit, a large number of foreign fighters, plenty of tanks and armored personnel carriers (including Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles), and shock troops from elite Ukrainian units. Over four days they consistently failed to capture any territory or even a small village

On March 18 the Russians targeted a meeting of senior Ukrainian security and defense commanders. At the time of this writing, very little is known other than the Russians believe that many were wounded or killed. It was part of Russia's response to the Ukrainian invasion of Russian territory.

The Ukrainian operation was aimed at weakening support for Putin and disrupting the election in Russia.  Why bother if the election outcome was predetermined?  Why sacrifice countless lives?

We do not know why the Ukrainian leaders and their backers in NATO thought that an invasion would work and somehow the Russian elections would be discredited. This was altogether a fantasy.

The Russian election was not affected in any significant measurable way. Putin won with 87.28% of the vote. The turnout for the election was 74% of eligible voters. Altogether, more than 75 million Russians voted. The Russian press said the result was “historic.”

The Russian vote was an endorsement of Putin and for the "Special Military Operation" in Ukraine. Had his support fallen below 70% he could have had a problem, but it never surfaced.

Zelensky and his NATO backers again got it wrong when it came to regime change in Russia. If anything, the attempts to overthrow Putin and trash the Russian elections backfired and strengthened the Russian leader, Stephen Bryen stresses.


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