So Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been declared President for a third time after rigged elections.
It is highly likely that he would have won anyway, as the only candidate likely to secure the support of the protest vote and force the election to a second round, economist and opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky was banned from participating in the elections allegedly owing to to the collection of false signatures among the 2 million that he collected. interestingly, Putin stooge and oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov was allowed to run, somehow collecting clean signatures, as did Putin in some miraculous manner.
Putin has always feared Yavlinsky, preventing his party Yabloko from being elected in the December elections through blatant vote-rigging.
Given this fear, what will Putin do if the protests against his election grow?
I would assume that he will allow the protests to be held, while simultaneously arresting and intimidating anyone who participates in the rallies. Most of the arrests and intimidation will be performed behind the scenes. This will be due to the Stalinist policy adopted by the Kremlin of divide and rule, basically emasculating the opposition by denying them the opportunity to rally behind a single figure.
Putin has so far sought to ridicule candidates he fears from Yavlinsky to highly respected writer Boris Akunin, while anti-corruption activist Navalny has been portrayed in the state media as a right-wing nationalist.
While this tactic will work for a while, over time it will have the opposite effect, with people coming to side with these individuals.
If the protests continue growing, then Putin is likely to seek to repress the opposition more and engineer the adoption by the servile State Duma of a law proclaiming Putin as President-for-life, thereby emulating his colleague Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. This law will also exempt Putin from potential charges for crimes committed while in office.
The repressions will become increasingly violent, with the introduction of a curfew, a ban on meetings and assertions that all the protesters are being paid by the US (yes even the pensioners!)
In this case, if violent repression doesn’t work, Putin will attempt to slip out of the country to some den such as Switzerland, where he has amassed billions, or otherwise broker a deal for the transfer of power that exempts his stolen assets from recovery to the state.