Quick recap of developments since the last update.
Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly
First half consisted of boring economic and political stuff (e.g. increasing GDP by 50% over the next 6 years, implying 7% growth – as realistic as his promise to create 25 million hi-tech jobs last year). Nobody really cares about this.
In the second half, wearing his purple tie of esoteric power, Putin entered hardcore Dr. Strangelove territory, revealing a range of awesome nuclear weaponry with the mediocre CGI demonstrations:
2. An aircraft-launched hypersonic missile with unlimited range [presumably ramjet based]
3. A nuclear-powered underwater drone that would autonomously cruise the world’s oceans at extremely fast speeds [so presumably using supercavitation] until called upon to detonate its 100MT yield warhead at a port, seeding the area with cobalt-60 that will make it uninhabitable for centuries.
This is all great news, since atomophobia is worse than racism.
Ben Aris commented that this speech would be remembered alongside his Munich speech in 2007, as a throwing down of the gauntlet to the West. However, another commenter replied to him he got a “strong ‘greatest hits, remastered’ vibe off of it.” My take, for what it is worth, is closer to the latter. With less than three weeks to go to the elections, Putin has not even bothered with compiling an official program, and doesn’t even intend to create original agitation videos (instead, they will be compiled from past clips of his speeches). Putin needs to do something to make people show up and excite the normies, and I suppose this is as good as any.
Zhirinovsky vs. Grudinin
PredictIt has finally opened a market on the Russian elections: Who will place 2nd in the 1st round of the 2018 Russian presidential election?
- Grudinin – 69%
- Zhirinovsky – 42%
- Putin, Yavlinsky, Sobchak – 1%
I bought some Zhirik when he was in the 30%’s, because I think it’s basically 50/50 between them. But won’t become rich because the market is very low volume.
“There were many good things under Hitler,” – Xenia “She-Wolf of the SS” Sobchak. (out of context quote)
Grudinin on Donbass
Grudinin on the Donbass:
The Donbass population should deal with the situation on its own, [said Grudinin] in Saint-Petersburg… He said that Russia shouldn’t help the denizens of the DNR and LNR, because they can resolve things by themselves.
More confirmation Grudinin is by far the most pro-Ukrainian of the main non-liberal candidates. But nothing more can be expected of a Communist Stalinist with offshore accounts in the West and a “rootless cosmopolitan” by the standards of his own idol.
The 70/70 Myth
There’s this meme or trope amongst Russia observers that the Presidential Administration is aiming to get a “70/70” (70% for Putin, 70% turnout).
As Alexander Kireev explains, this is nonsense.
Polls indicate that (real, pre-fraud) turnout will be no more than 60% at best.
Putin is polling around 80%. Minus 5% because polls tend to overestimate his support; plus 5% to reflect the customary level of fraud in Russia’s Presidential elections.
For Putin to get 70%, the electoral fraud would actually have to be in favor of his challengers. This is exceedingly unlikely. The local bureaucrats who tally the numbers are not going to do “creative” things like adding voices for Grudinin or Sobchak, since it would put their own skins at risk, e.g. if the kremlins decide to scapegoat one of them for electoral falsification, to “prove” that the “opposition” also engages in fraud.