No Legitimate Ground for the National Referendum
The Central Election Commission does not seem to be preparing the so-called “all-Russian vote” on the amendments to the Constitution. The head of the CEC explains this by the fact that there is no legislative framework for the preparation. In other words, no one yet understands what kind of event this will be. One thing is clear, though: the genuine popular will is not going to be carried out.
In his message to the Federal Assembly, President Putin proposed a constitutional reform and said that the final decision on it would be based on the “citizens’ vote” results. The vagueness of this statement gave rise to different versions and rumors. Commenting on the situation, the head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said, also quite vaguely:
Until the legislator has made the decision and the relevant law has been passed to entrust us, or someone else, with this function – until then we can only hypothetically speculate about the situation … What we are doing now, considering the high probability of our future participation, is conducting an intensive brainstorming discussion with people; we are collecting proposals on how they see this process …. And we must do it.
Earlier, she said that “there is no reason” to hold the referendum. In her opinion, the procedure proposed by the president should be a one-time precedent:
I have been thinking about the correct terms for what we are doing now, so that there is no confusion. I suggest we introduce a specific term that would mean a one-time, exclusive, unique political event, so as to avoid references to the current legislation.
Sources in the Kremlin say the notorious “all-Russian vote” is due to take place during April 2020, and there are two conspicuous circumstances.
Firstly, the Russian government seems to be avoiding the actual nationwide referendum. Such a form of popular expression as a referendum is actually banned in Russia; the procedure for holding a referendum is framed by legislative limitations, and in some cases citizens are even convicted as criminals for the very idea of it. Thus, the ruling class is not interested about the true opinion of citizens.
Secondly, there are two and a half months left until the supposed date of the “popular vote”, and the legislative framework for this peculiar procedure has not yet been prepared. This shows the true – completely frivolous, in fact – attitude of the authorities towards the upcoming event.
It seems that, under the guise of the “all-Russian” vote, there is going to be yet another theatrical “political performance” that has nothing to do with the Russian people and their opinions.