Staunton, May 24 – In an implicit acknowledgement that public support for Vladimir Putin may be soft and in fact falling, Andrey Yarin who heads the domestic politics section of the Presidential Administration, says that getting 70 percent of Russians to take part in the upcoming presidential elections and 70 percent support for Putin are no longer priorities.
Yarin made that declaration to a conference of the Foundation for the Development of Civil Society earlier this week. His remarks on this score were relayed by two participants in that meeting to Elena Mukhametshina, a Vedomosti journalist, who published them in her paper yesterday (vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2017/05/23/691209-kremlyu-formula).
Up until now, the journalist says, sources in the Presidential Administration “have spoken about the necessity of achieving 70 percent participation [in the elections] and 70 percent support [for Putin].” But now, Yarin is saying that the Kremlin expects to do that well and so is focusing on other aspects of the situation.
The Kremlin’s confidence may be justified given the various administrative measures at its disposal and the ability of Putin to set the agenda by actions he has or more take. But to retreat from the 70 and 70 formula suggests that the Kremlin is either lowballing the situation to make a Putin victory look better or preparing for lower levels of participation and support.