tv Russian Presidential Election Implications CSPAN April 5, 2018 11:04am-12:07pm EDT
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of sunday the author lincoln's war secretary talks edwin stanton, lincoln's assassination, and the aftermath. putinn president vladimir recently won over 70% of the vote for another six-year term in office. next, a form on the implications of his elections, his popularity in russia, and potential talks between president trump and the russian leader. >> good afternoon. i i like tof fdr welcome you to an enlightening discussion. given the news, i'm confident that our panel will have no shortage of topics. we will be focusing on russia's march 18 election and what it means for domestic and foreign policy over putin's next term,
putin 4.0. then we will move to a q&a session where you can pose euro question. let me introduce our panelists. andvite you to join me extending them a warm welcome. [applause] to introduce them, and they are , chris millerrder is an assistant professor of international history at the fletcher school of law and diplomacy and the director of the eurasia program. his research examines russian political history. he received his phd from yale. david in merman stein fellow at brookings with the foreign policy program's
center. in politics and nationalism and russian foreign policy. examines theok rise of far-right political parties in western and eastern europe. shields a doctorate and masters in sociologist from berkeley and a bachelors in economic and social reality from emory university. he is an assistant professor of political science at george washington university and an academic fellow at harvard. his research understands how elites translate political power into economic influence, and how
policies can be designed to curb corruption. in the effectiveness of anticorruption campaigns, nepotism in government hiring. his work has been published in the american political science review, the journal of politics, and popular publications for an affairs, the moscow times, and elsewhere. in case you are wondering who i of them the copresident .urasian club before we get going, i want to acknowledge more individuals and institutions. helping organize the catering and logistics. acknowledge to maria who was instrumental in
publicizing the event. and the av team for helping to set up for the event. we will be starting with the election, then to the implications for domestic and foreign policy. promptoffer a where the panelists will have an opportunity to share their views and engage with each other. should the opportunity arise, i will ask follow-ups. let's start with the campaigns and elections results. centralg to russia's election commission and the caveat that there was falsification, putin was 77%, which have won turned out to be 67%.while the result was not a surprise , what about the numbers, what for hisdoes putin have next term? would you call the mandate a success for the kremlin? >> the kremlin thinks it is a
success. they set the target for what they wanted the campaign to look like. they got voters out on election day, so for them it is a success. tosome extent they are able manage the political system to provide a narrative that they think suits their interests and the elites are more or less on board. things are under control, which is above all what they want. it is worth noting that if you compare this election to the last presidential election, the last election, we saw protests in moscow in particular. the middle class said we are not satisfied with the results with the return of putin. this time we didn't get that much. the opposition was marginalized, but it seems like the population
is not willing to complain too loudly about it. i would notice that voting patterns in moscow look different. we can debate why that is, but more so moscow voted in favor of the status quo. in the past moscow was seen as a change vote, it was like that in the last election. in this case, that wasn't true. i think that as a matter that we will be trying to analyze going forward, but that is a market change. kremlin's number one fear was losing moscow, moscow having the middle class come out against it. that hasn't happened. from and, administrative point of view, the elections were a huge success for the kremlin. it shows that the state is capable of organizing a nationwide event with polling stations, all of the markings of election.
they did this effectively and planned everything down to the minute detail, including bussing people to the polls when needed. point ofkremlin's view, this is a huge success. election in russia does not serve the same purpose as they do in democratic countries. there was no competition. time, unlikehis 2012 when there were protests in favor of political opposition or anticorruption, this time there was a set of characters who were pre-chosen by the kremlin to compete. there was no real competition or challenge. the only potential real challenger was prevented from running. these were the most managed and orchestrated and
efficient elections we have seen in modern russia. from that point, they were successful. it was interesting that the turnout,anted a 70% to mark's 70th birthday. he only got 67% turnout. but somebodynough, is in jail for that 3%. probably not, but who knows. on the other hand, what was interesting to me about the question of the mandate is that we don't know what putin 4.0 will be about. we have never known what 3.0 was going to be about. only in retrospect have we been able to label. now we talk about that putin's
last term was defined by this new social contract between the state and the russian people, where even though there is economic stagnation and a curtailing of political rights, hasrmation etc., russia taken a more aggressive stance on the world stage. it is a social contract in foreign policy, greatness, coupled with domestic stagnation that has propped up putin's popularity. i do think the popularity is genuine, so we can discuss that as well. we really don't know what the next six years will hold and if this social contract that the kremlin established thus far will provide enough juice to sustain putin for the next six years. >> i think i agree with everything that was just said.
this was a resounding success. a couple of things that came to mind is that incumbent toughents face a time getting reelected when the economy isn't doing well. don't like to support the status quo when they see a decline in their economic welfare. it is surprising how well that he did considering the headwinds the economy had been facing for the last couple of years. there are couple of things to keep in mind. the most important is the lack of anger over the level of electoral fraud. you can talk about the protests fear 2011 that strike throughout russian officials because they do not want unrest on the street. it is important to keep in mind that a large percentage of the russian population believe they live in a democracy, think andtions are free and fair,
demand legitimacy in their leadership. when you have evidence of carousels, that hurts you from the opposition standpoint and your base. these people believe they are living in a democracy and may be don't want to support the president going forward because of the contradiction on the ground and what their values hold. this election was extremely well done. the development of a sophisticated electoral machine that imported techniques from the west. they targeted dependent people on the regime, not quite romney or trump-style organization of data and online activism, but they are moving in that direction. experience competing in this 21st century electoral battlefield. it will make them in a better position if things become more competitive and they lose popularity, they know how to run a more sophisticated campaign. they demonstrated this the last
couple of weeks. in terms of mandates, this gives them a strong mandate to make reforms in the next couple of years. electoral cycles in russia is very long. it is part of the reform. you have six years and voters' memories are short. if things happen early in the cycle, you might be able to persuade or convince by the time the next election comes around that the early part was difficult and the transition was tough, but you can make painful decisions early because you have rs ando correct the erro convince voters that you have another shot. didn't hit it, but it gives them enthusiasm moving forward saying that the populace is behind the regime. expectations are high but there is momentum going forward.
who knows if that will last for the next six years. >> turning to the systemic or the non-systemic on the streets, we saw turnover this cycle. the communist party ran a new face. navalny made inroads in a region where previous opposition figures have not and pulled and 11% of the vote. where do these new faces leave the opposition? is that systemic or not systemic as we start putin's next term? ought to donists better in russia when the incomes have fallen, when pensions are a source of can a source of complaint.
the communists ought to have done well. if they wanted to use a stronger critique against the current economic system, not the political system. breakmmunist struggled to 12% of the vote. they did this not only under the old leader, but a new face grudinin, who is more charismatic, younger, and not as much of a relic of the old soviet era. though he does run a collective farm. >> he also has foreign bank accounts. >> what is interesting is that a couplewas released of weeks before the election. who wanted to knock down his poll ratings a couple of percentage points? there is concern that the communist critique might have popularity, but not that much. surprise in the
communists, they do have a potent critique of the oligarch, the government, the economic situation. for whatever reason, that doesn't translate into electoral support, which is a puzzle. what will grudinin do next? does he run for office? office? that is an important question for the future of russian politics. >> to directly follow up on that, you said it was a puzzle stagnationn economic the communist didn't do better. perhaps it is signaling that grudinin has foreign bank accounts was a desire to weaken him before the elections, but we are still talking about the russian elections like they are real elections.
in reality 1.5 million votes appeared overnight from the 18th to 19th. there was widespread rigging. it was just a matter of playing with the right districts, and -- ao do it so it wasn't margin of what would be acceptable to the population. that is probably not 30%, but maybe 10% or 15% where they can play around and manipulate the vote count, the turnout count, to whatever they wanted to be. who owns all of the administrative resources? who decides who has media time on national media? navalny had no access. his name was like speaking the devil's name. how we even talk about the russian election, they don't
serve the same function as they would in the united states. the answers are clear why any systemic opposition will never be able to mobilize significant enough to start -- significant enough to challenge the status quo, the kremlin. it was a clear desire from the the liberal,ve urban, middle classes an outlet. that was sobchak. asked to be ast part of the competition. it seems like she was here to raise her brand internationally. at the end of the day, there was a scene after the election results where you have putin meeting the opposition leaders. he has them sitting at a table. they all come out of the meeting
despite their complaints that putin,es were rigged an legitimizing's win. this was the role of the opposition. ally mind, 10% or 15% is within the realm of possibility for the kremlin. it has the illusion of showing that putin is still the czar, all inclusive, and the liberals are there to legitimize his continued mandate and reign. >> i think if there were free and fair elections we don't know what extent the independent media would uncover. it might go to a second round, but there is little doubt that fairuld win a free and election outright.
there is not information within the electoral results about electoral competition in russia. we saw weak candidates put forward by the opposition. whose platformin would be disastrous for russia in many ways. tion of sectors that are doing well. his ideas wouldn't appeal to more than 10% or 15% even if they had all of the information. it seems like we were returning to the 2000s. there was so much squabbling between the opposition. the ideas put forward are not realistic and as pro-growth as they are being pitched. a lot of communists have said this is not what russia needs necessarily. if we had better alternates with better options besides putin, may be they would be more competition. if you just take away administrative resources, i still think he would have won
outright. my testament of the liberal lny istion is that nava having trouble putting forward a platform that can appeal to a voter and building a team that can show that they can govern. years, the most important thing that the liberal opposition can do is to govern well in those districts and across the country where they have power and show that they can manage a budget, weed out corruption where they have responsibility. that is the only way that we will see candidates, from the grassroots level with their own ace of support and -- own base of support and scare the kremlin. they are not worried because the leaders are haphazardly thinking about the future of russian government. their ideas are half-baked and they don't have the experience to demonstrate that they could manage as many troubles as there
are right now. the regional bases and economic bases, i'm not sure they could do a good job, and i don't think the russian voters think that as well. that, why reason for we had weak candidates, to discuss whether his ideas are relevant were good for russia. i agree he is a problematic figure in many ways. -- there is no organic opposition, democracy, civil society to produce leaders. when they are produced, what does the kremlin do? i give you boris' murder. he was a threat because he had appeal across the country. most people have no idea who navalny is. there are so many things about -- that haverussia to happen in russia to produce real competition and produce
leaders that can be appealing. given the tightness of the over political resources and administrative resources, the media environment, the economy, i don't know why we are talking about the opposition. of a chanceave much unless something profound happened at the top. that is how change happens in russia, always from the top, never from the bottom. >> that is not necessarily how the soviet union collapsed. people came up from the bottom and found grievances that resonated. the protests were seven years ago. the last four or five years have been very difficult and they have gone through a lot of trouble. we have not seen that translate into an opposition candidate that can channel that anger. the special events that in the last couple weeks have exposed the government. how much time and resources do
they need? i think that the regime and opposition share the blame in a way that needs to change for us to see movement. if the kremlin opened the political space i'm not convinced that the leaders of the opposition could build a movement that would challenge it. >> going forward in the next six ofrs, the question succession looms larger. according to the constitution it 's last term.n constitutions can be changed, but he is also getting older. there is a question about how long he will be alive. he has been in power for 20 years. it is a really long time. people are asking, is there a new generation coming up? as we get further into putin four point oh, succession will loom larger and is already a debate. some mechanism to hand off power while keeping influence behind , change the
constitution? whatever path they choose, the question and uncertainty that that poses doesn't leave much space for more debate and division among the existing political elite. if you think about succession, even if it is fake where putin is still behind the throne strings, who is the successor? we can think of lots of different names, but each will have groups backing it and opposed to it. that will have space for competition. to keep an will try lid on the competition, because competition is dangerous, but it is not difficult to imagine where the debate spins out of control, often as it has in the past with russian leadership successions and we have opposition that is more difficult to manage than expected. >> i wanted to turn to how putin
4.0 has started. we are in the aftermath of a tragic incident at a shopping mall in siberia. , many of whom were children. long time regional governor was , meanwhileesign aotests are continuing over policy issued and toxic air. term isests that if new onto and off. . would you agree with that? if is the honeymoon over? do you see any parallels with what happened a long time ago with putin and was managed poorly?
this was the celebration of culminated ined coordinating clinton for another term. i don't think he enjoyed that -- itecause the result ended on march 18 in some respects. i think it shows how beneficial this protocol hierarchy is built and micromanaged in the center. it is delegated to people who have very little experience and interest. that's what voters see. problems, low level, the
kindergarten and hospitals. those are some of the obstacles that limit the largest in how will this regime is performing. to the wall. if you are going to fix things view to -- you need to start at the village and fix the way that citizens interact with government officials. if you don't do that, you will see protests borrow. next two years, we will see an effort to renew at the regional and local level to get new faces in there who have more education and management experience. succession will be a big issue moving forward but it is how you interact with eurocrats.
you can easily slip over the cliff and that in itself is present no matter how hospitals, or the how many victims he meets with or how the media controls the interactions. there is only so much that pr can do. people are hurt by government , patriotism or firing people on the television will fix the pain that people have got. the weak link in russia is corruption. we have seen this ongoing changing of the old guard to the new guard. putin's cabinet has done a lot
of reshuffling. there needs to be a generational shift among local and international positions. it is unclear to me whether this class ofming of a potential successors or not. it is hard to tell. if theretial question is a chosen successor it will not be a name that we are familiar with today. it will be somebody like putin nielsen.was chosen by .e need -- yields and meaning he will not be persecuted, but putin has been in power much longer than yel tsin.
he consolidates control around , itelf and has many enemies is unclear whether anybody can protect him the same way he was able to protect yeltsin. leave, basednts to on his behavior he seems detached and disdainful at times , whether he can ever leave without getting killed or having some situation like that. reform, the kremlin would like to see a little bit less corruption at the local level.
, the fact of the day that the center has very limited control of the periphery in russia. governorst appoints that manage the situation on the ground. they get to the top. they get something from the center. if you go further east in russia , that does not exist there. they have their own system of governance that centers around the local government officials are corrupt. that seems to be the model. when we have these tragedies that point to the inefficiency of the local government causing this kind of pain to the russian
people, is that moscow is not this great tote -- told terry and regime. when the comes to light embraces chechnya problems and and all of these things -- last russia politics the decade of trying to learn lessons from china. china hadtion is that a much more authoritarian regime. one of the lessons that the russians tried to draw from the chinese is that you give prevention of government more rights. governorspush to get
improving the quality of governance. will they be enforced or will the proposed should be based on political connections closely tied to the quality of governance. elections ate of the regional level there is no checks or behaviors of governors. you can have a kremlin incentivizing governors to work well. -- has tried to and ton a new generation a certain extent younger and fresh faces. up until a couple of months ago there was an established new generations coming up. what's ironic about this is just as the russians have been
talking to the chinese, having theguy at the top and no -- limited russian government faces coexist at the national level. they can improve thanks to a certain extent. we will see over the next six years. trend that wer haven't talked about as much is technology to fix governance in russia right now. if you provide a platform to go around that, allow the citizen to access state governments without interaction, we have seen massive investments by the russian government. the amount of things that you .an get done
how do you keep control from the center but achieve high quality low level governance and people who don't complain about what they are getting from the state? whether it is services enforcement or bureaucratic -- from light multifunctional center that operates blocks from where you live. managing without -- they are working ok, they don't have a great system for management, i think they are trying to substitute when it is failing. that's another trend to watch. yet.are not estonia estonianlooking for inspiration.
>> let's turn to foreign policy. this has been a interesting two weeks and i think it would be valuable to discuss. are witnessing what might become a diplomatic crisis over the attempted assassination in the u.k. and now tipped for 10 -- tit for tat. is this a new normal? putin's reelection mean for foreign policy? what might you expect in the coming term in so far as one can't predict. every two weeks three reach a new low between russia and the west. i think it is wrong to see the ,hole question and the u.k.
it's drastically different. question is what does putin three election mean for foreign policy? i guess not much. i don't see any reason to think we are going to have new for policy emerging after the election. peopleyou think that running for election -- i don't think russian voters are ,omplaining in a serious way are being held back by the will of russian voters. imagine anyr me to adjustments in russian foreign policy. >> there are a few possible
scenarios, we don't know which one will take shape. we don't know until it happens what will be defined. they have not sent clear signals on what they will be focusing on . in terms of for policy, there are three scenarios i can think of. one is that it was suggested by some that the kremlin was for policy risk that he has taken did not work out exactly as wanted. continued -- maybe they don't care about sanctions. they factre despite that they have not affected the economy that much. ramp is looking for an off
in the ukraine. the same argument has been made about syria. development where you have this russian group -- about forces and suffered casualties was another risk that was taken by -- who directed this wagner group in syria. it was a debacle. maybe that's not the case. know some clean and clear signals from the kremlin we are going to take steps or in syria or elsewhere to be a potential to western interests as well. it's not that great.
the other one is that we will see more and more for policy risk because so far i think but putin has received is a slap on the wrist. putin because their work were native responses that the alliance is still strong, they can't coordinate policy against russia. they can coordinate policy against russia. so far there haven't been any consequences. as more information is coming thatnd it is more clear there should be serious consequences involved. given that putin may think he has an open field to play on,
asymmetric measures against other countries, this would be our best guess what it could be. central asia, interesting about incentives. to a worsed relationship than what we have now. putin has taken on quite a few policy roles and they have played out well for the kremlin. theyis point it seems that just want to see what comes next and maybe we will have a summit at the white house. it may be that will be a time that we can see it.
i don't think anybody in the surpassing idea which one is more likely. that is exactly how we should be thinking about foreign policy. if it has been dominated by foreign policy i don't think the next two years will be very much. solving economic in succession it will drive public opinion and it has been since 2014 and there will be a refocus . i am not sure what the consequences will be whether foreign policy and what they tried to achieve. i think it will be an important shift. i would put my money on -- not staying in the government. we don't know how much authority he has to dictate and what the country wants to do.
or this very hard-line approach to the west. country,c election that would be a strong signal that things are about to change. many areas there is room for improvement to solve many problems. if you see it at the top of the russian foreign ministry, everything -- there could be establishment of the regions. they may be more open to cooperation with the west. i would be surprised if they did not exert independent influence that way. it sets expectations on a level four russian capitulation.
it might mean a slight shift. question before we move to a queue and day. i would like to invite all three of you to be vladimir putin for the next six year and tell me how you would like to end your term and what you would like to accomplish by the end of the next six years. had vladimir 1.0 which was stability and growth. we had vladimir make russia a great again. you want me to respond? >> i'll do it. notake sure the point does
boil over. just making sure that whatever infighting and whatever will happen in the next four years will go out will not be plagued by leaks that the popular perception is that the russian government is divided. if you don't know who to talk to in the russian government that who is actually pulling the levers. i would close the informational sphere -- as much as possible. way can transparency help in terms of choosing a successor. combine that with crisis management, trying to prevent painful points from really , i also think that
you should take a step back from the aggressive constitution, not -- i think he has a lot to gain for a. of or a slight reset with the west. sunnyhis off rep into a however he wants to spend his facilitatedill be by a big plan bargain before she leaves where we cannot only try but russia had finally achieved other objectives and is taken seriously by the west and treated more like an equal. you may have to make in fact -- concessions with the west. then exit to try to put the
country not so confrontational. so, back to the election for a second. sees whatason why it it will come, in western onntries and just reporting russian meddling and interference in democracies, but we forget that all these techniques were first and tried in russia domestically. with the election showed to me is a deliberate process to develop the kremlin's grasp of information control. it was very well orchestrated. those clear messaging on all levels, professional russian media, local media and social media and russian government
statements, it showed that capacity of the states to control information. i agree that domestically is has alreadyind out started and now they have a mandate to really close it down in the same way they closed down their society and independent media. i think the message is if i was sitting in the kremlin i would be able -- i would feel terrified. i know that russia is isolated. are people coming into the administration and you have to be very careful with trump. we haven'tlicy front
seen putin say anything about donald trump the same thing he said about obama. the last comments we saw about the potential summit at the white house. there is a discussion going on in the west about russia's dirty money. ways has to be a very good manager of all the competing interests within the kremlin. to providehe is able the cover for them to secure the assets, they are not going to be to their assets being frozen in their lives and chateau's and other property katie -- being taken away from them, he has a good source of
power. the has to secure the power for the elite. if that was to crumble internally, it would be problems for him. he has a much more tenuous situation that it may seem for us. unbreakable mile as of power and it is not. i would be a little anxious and scared and how will i try to compensate for that anxiety and frustration? handnk maybe on the one putin could be a great leader, but trying to control information step-by-step could be problematic. way he is leaving in 2024.
the foreign minister is is a spokesperson and my view and has no independent autonomy to make any decisions. i think in 2024 maybe he won't be president, he will be prime minister again, all things of -- all kinds of things you could do. i would be more concerned about my family and my assets and my personal relationships to remain secure because nobody will provide a problem for putin. i think there is risk if russia moves towards the more chinese style regime. in aolitical beliefs
system where everybody supports the government, you get , theyility in government feel like they can live a western lifestyle in russia. when they are restricting google , likeertain extent telegram services they would like to ban that. >> at this point i would like to move to q&a session and having been to many of these type of events and easy , underlined in q&a. seconds at32nd -- 30 the most. -- who will let you all like to ask a question? i am just told her retired
military. about the talked account of putting yourself back into putin's shoes three years down the road, the economy is still stagnant. what to see have to do in the foreign policy side? is that the counterbalance between the stagnant economy and his popularity? back atsee that bring 1.0? >> in my view, one of the best achievements has been economic roles. those used to be seen as interlinked. as the economy starts to decline, putin will lose popularity. approvalok at putin's ratings before crime area -- crimea, they were less than the
50's. he was not the unbreakable peoples star, to say. if you look at some of the other , we didicy like syria not see this response. how much further can you really go? forward, the kremlin will have to figure out whether foreign policy can't continue to sustain the popularity or if they need to focus on the domestic issues, this is a tightly -- a found themselves in. one way they try to balance this is the immobilization, that's a dangerous force. underestimated many times.
they should bounce set out constantly and bring it under control and very his ways is quite tricky. successful at it so far because of the control of information space but it is unclear whether they will be about to continue to walk this line. in terms of economic reform it -- it isto everybody panel,o everybody on the i don't see how russia becomes a sustainable -- sustainable economy that will continue to rise over the generations. there is no source besides hydrocarbon exports. those kinds of reforms are going to hurt. putin toincentive for around him to do these kinds of painful changes? i don't have that would help him
and his popularity. risk that he has to be willing to take. has he taken up the plan? no. and potentials square economic reform? >> if we are to see reform it will be on two levels. one is the recent level and the challenge will be that he will have to push to the right types .f from the center it's not clear to me that the -- you are not going to make russia great again by performances at the regional level. if they want to maximize their popularity, and the second type , painful reforms that
will help the budget balanced and raising the pension age, depending on your projections might be necessary but it will not help economic growth. they have a couple of reforms like the pension age over time to the budget balance doesn't increase economic growth. forms youhave tougher might get more economic growth. structure thate putin has insisted on. for the russian economy, incentivized to set up a system where they can get as much money as possible. putin is a plutocracy.
in a normal country, you would think there would be political concern about economy but russia is not set up with a structure. next question? >> i'm from the state department. i have been curious about why there is no ways to talk about -- there's been little evidence they have impacted public opinion? information does not reach
think people did not know who alexei navaly was. can you estimate how many people have been killed in syria russian mark --? i would say less than five or thoseenerous range of two. we go back to the idea -- the most vulnerable is when the public is less informed. with the have been implementing over the last 18 years, information comes in and people believe it. .eople can receive information about they cannot write it.
-- incorporate it. is a more orchestrated effort that needs to be done so people know leasing's candy done. they -- can the done. maybe this is an untenable position to hold. they can't capitalize on these , the invectives don't align. the government controls what the people can understand. with the relationship to that and some of these foreign policy it is over 25% -- the -- retains returned
that high-level. 2015, 3% jobs,f from three to 86. frame that hasia thank you to the u.k. for giving us that boosted turnout, and the it shows the west is out to get russia. it was framed so that the kremlin began a narrative before the election. again, he is right -- there will be a brief pro forma session.