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tv   Inside Story 2020 Ep 177  Al Jazeera  June 26, 2020 10:32am-11:00am +03

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and said by analysts is that there really needs to be more integration more cooperation between these 10 nations of the on to help pull them through the situation post situation now what's very interesting is that you know this region you know the economy globally is not been great the last couple of years but this region has been good comparatively in 2001000 there was a a 4 percent increase in the g.d.p. gross domestic product of the region now they're looking at not only they're not going to have any positive but negative projected for this year's move a poll of one the english premier league title for the 1st time in 30 years it's the 19th time the club of one with title it means little poll on now the reigning english european and world champions it's inside story in. indonesian law just remaining right forms the local tribes accuse big companies of
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land grabs florida and human rights abuses when he's to investigate on al-jazeera. he's the longest serving russian leader since joseph stalin a lot of the putin wants to stay in power even longer a referendum on constitutional reforms could extend his rule so how will this shape the future of russia this is inside still. hello welcome to the program. vladimir putin was 1st elected as russia's president in 2020 years later he still had he served longer than any russian or soviet politician since the early 1950 s. and it could be on course to be one of his nation's longest serving leaders putin's
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opponents say he plans to never leave office constitutional reforms introduced in january will allow him to stay in power for another 26 year terms his current one and in 4 years russians have started voting in a weeklong referendum on the amendments but the state duma has already approved those changes to the constitution while also passing a law that says the reforms must have the public support its president putin says he'll consider running for a 5th term in 2024 he said this to the russian media if this doesn't happen then in about 2 years and i know this from personal experience the normal rhythm of work of many parts of government will be replaced by a search for possible successes we must be working not looking for success it's the vote was shuttle for april but got delayed as russia imposed restrictions to
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tackle the covert 1000 pandemic the government says it's taking precautions to let people cast their ballots safely it's also allowing online voting there are reports of pressure being put on state employees to vote for the amendments charlie angela reports during the day in a day russian state funded institution to have free time is now spent protesting against the state's latest attempt to preserve putin's power for another 2 terms with the opposition demonstrations banned stickers and the only way to voice her anger at being told by her employer is exactly where and when to vote. i think it wasn't our management's initiative they received the orders from above and it must have been done to make sure people don't participate in exit polls and there are no election observers to make sure no one could observe the voting and to make it more difficult on cover regularities she is up against
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a vost machine the kremlin launched a widespread advertising campaign appealing to pensioners parents and patriots the $200.00 amendments to the constitution include promises on pensions health care and the minimum wage as well as allowing the current president to seek reelection up to his final term ends in 2024 and guaranteeing immunity to former presidents but a yes or no vote on the entire package is the only option available. was part of the working group brought together by president putin to draft the proposed reforms. and the law doesn't meet that the current president has already been elected to the highest state post several times there is no recent the rest just a special provision in the text of the constitution that allows the current president to run for the next presidential election this provision largely guarantees that the states policy will not be radically changed after 2024 but the vote is largely symbolic the changes have already been passed by russia's
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parliament still critics say putin wants the people to give his plan the veneer of a ditch in the sea put in wants to be supported by people as addictive through the system situation for any kind of different dictatorships such a direct direct line direct connection between the autocrats and the people simply personal so social logical. there are fears the nationwide vote could increase the spread of coronavirus in a country that is still recording over $7000.00 new infections a day a ban on public events led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters even one person with a placard is considered a contravention but the ban does not apply to any event organized by the kremlin that the need for urgency on this vote is unclear charly angela algis there. let's bring in our guests in moscow we have under
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a federal of the director of the fund for political research and consulting and a former deputy foreign minister of russia in washington d.c. jim a former u.s. diplomat who served on the u.s.s.r. desk at the state department and he was also a foreign policy adviser to the u.s. senate republican leadership and also in moscow alexander solove have moscow division chairman of the party of changes and former assistant to the independent member of parliament dimitri good calls a warm welcome to you all i'll start 1st of all with you andre why is part of a putin go to so much effort to make it look like these constitutional changes are in a sense democratic why given that veneer. first before he is. willing to. make the main thing in his life is to continue program of changes what he's considering the program of changes and he needs as
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much as possible in just a musician of continuation of his work as a president of the russian federation of course now with the option of this amendments they can stay op till who are 2036 the longest in the history of soviet union and russia bought the problem is what will happen around him what kind of people will follow him to that is they'd because many of them are quite conservatives and not willing to make serious changes jim why do you think vladimir putin wants to give this a democratic the near if you like to these constitutional changes. well i think it's more than just giving it a democratic or near i think he wants to project a sense of the solidarity of russian society that there is a broad agreement on russia's course along the lines that he has set out during his
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already long time in office let's remember that with the collapse of the union of the chaos of the 1990 s. under yeltsin and that i think mr putin felt that he had the need to restore not only a stability to russian society but to restore russia's place as a major actor on the international scene which as we know for the last 2 or 3 decades has been dominated by the not united states as a i would say a global head and this is something obviously russia does not accept 6 except wants to defend what it regards as inch by the interest in the near abroad and even places like syria so i think that this is part of the legacy there mr putin wants to pass on saying russia's back we are united country and we have brought popular support for this course alexander putin does seem to have popular support for these changes doesn't it looks like a whatever the turnout the going to go through. well. those amendments are going to
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go get through anyway because this procedure has nothing in connection with the legal procedure of referendum it's more like a poll because it's not a referendum officially it's just a voting procedure how they call it the federal goading procedure and you almost cannot control it. so the the the blob ballots are not being they don't have the numbers they're unique numbers as it usually happens on ordinary elections and referendums and on the re would referendum he would have had to pass every single amendment separately and that would've been a great threat to the to the to the to the to the only one important amendment about his. terms about the fact that he can. be reelected for 2 more terms so. i think these amendments are going to they will
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say of course any necessary numbers they will show us any picture they want to show but people are still a lot of quite a lot of people are against those amendments just because of this very important amendment about this. how to say the exact translation of the word the russian work would be 0 for cation so we call it uploading you know which means that he's now like has hasn't had any any any terms so 0 terrorists prior to that amendments and now he can react more and more so the biggest question is again why does he need this and that's the most interesting question andre the campaign to get people out to vote has focused more on sort of and shrine ing perhaps conservative values rather than mentioning a toll an extension to putin's time in office that talk about the mention of faith
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ingall that is effectively a ban on gay marriage is that plenty of support in russia for these what you michael small c conservative values. if you will look at the campaign before this period of election you will see concentration olie on social issues like cell arrays ban since etc etc and iran in the informational or central election committee killed the last days there was no mentioning of the most important amendment concerning the presidential terms they do use the following that the people should. support this amendments for threatening to russia as a social state and this is quite attractive especially for the rural areas for the families will the children which recently received additional money and
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a cop the money from putin so it's quite obvious but in the big cities like moscow in some bit of work situations quite different that very many people who oppose this amendments but you should also take into consideration that this amendments voted for or bold in package there is no any kind of separate amendments discussed so your receive becket are not received this package that's all and jim do you get that putin's played to the conservative. people me outside the more liberal cities and this is how it's playing rather than putting emphasis on the term limits. exactly right i think that's wise of him and as we know russia and dissident history of russia poland hungary and other countries and the former communist bloc in many ways are much more socially conservative than countries in western europe or in north america and i think he is playing to that even re talk about. popularity of numbers which are generally much higher than those of western
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politicians even about half the people who oppose him or express disapproval of him don't think he's conservative and out that he's not nationalistic enough that he's too moderate and yes of course you also have the people in the large cities and moscow and st petersburg a few other places where essentially russian versions of western yuppies who don't necessarily like these conservative values but i think the items on this referendum list are very much in sync with what the center of gravity russian szell opinion is which tends to be rather conservative by western standards alexander is that it outside the mall maybe we can call them more liberally minded major russian city centers you have a country that is in the main fairly conservative unfairly in choosing with what vladimir putin is doing and saying well i can say that the country is conservative
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though in in the most issues they are but the thing is that vladimir putin as a person who is ruling authoritarian regime which is absolutely clear authoritarian he's doing the following his just. 'd dividing people and making them hate while not each other but the minorities that's why people don't have any straight ideology and they are had 86 complete mess in their head right now so that's why you may need somebody who has some old ladies in the streets bringing the icons with stalin but at the same time they are bringing them into the church. praying for a new style and to come from russia so this is a complete mess in their head because of the propaganda which basically divides them and makes them hate each other this is the easiest way to distract people's attention from real problems and that's what they've been doing for 20 years and
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they are still doing it it's not that efficient it's used to be during the crimea period or something but still people are being distracted from the real problems and even in the rural area people sometimes oppose those amendments just because of the fact that they understand. most of those amendments already exists and they are already been introduced in different federal laws and there is no use no need to write them down a new constitution because they've been working for now for some of them are working for now for 25 years or something so i can't say there are 100 percent conservative they're just being distracted by propaganda andre alexander made reference that to people being attention being diverted from the real problem so why has putin called this plebiscite now he's call for years left in an office before he needs to think about running again for president. from my best some point
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of view and knowing which in for many is he's trying to prolong his standoff he's with the goal of the realization of he's principle dream restoration of the boss saw its fate as a new beak some of it in state it will take time and he understands that in 4 years he count complete of his. idea of creating a kind of a mini soviet union in the future i think that most probably in 10 years he can really make something like you union on the post so it's base thought sounds jim like a very ambitious project is that something you recognize in what you think putin's plans offer the future some sort of re creation of some mini soviet union i would say re creation of the many soviet union but i would think it would mandate that
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russia establishes its. primacy in the extra th expats look for the last 30 years and and i speak as a practitioner of the american foreign policy establishment for several decades is that the american position has been with the fall of a sort of union we are now the global head human the entire world consists of american spirit influence that obviously is not welcome to the russian to the chinese to india to a number of other countries and i think russia would looking at events in the ukraine in 2014 georgian 2008 and syria says to itself that this is untenable they can up with themselves in a position where washington can dictate the conditions right on to russia's borders in a real that matter as we know through color revolutions even try to manipulate things within country's borders so i think he feels that restoring russian starboard sovereignty and its if you will its strategic footprint. it is absolutely essential
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to russia's future now some people would say the fact that he has not been able to to establish this through some kind of succession that he is still the essential man in all of this is kind of a weakness and i suppose it is that that there's always been a fear in russian history between. what it what are the or be interested in freedom for the population versus what results in in chaos and anarchy that that essentially destroys the country and i think that's what he's also team who avoid alexander can i ask you have the opposition had a trouble trying to mobilize people who might vote no to these changes they have got off there's a recession on its way low prices a low putin's writing's a low but yet the opposition seems to struggle to get the no votes out as it. well unfortunately the biggest problem on the opposition right now is the fact that. the 2 the most famous leaders such as i would say not only are calling for to boycott
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those elections which is quite weird for me personally because we've been calling people for some action we've been telling them for 10 years from now by now that this is very important to use older legal procedures in order to try to change something or even if the procedure is told to leave fraudulent we still must use it in order to attract people's attention to the to the problem of illegal and unfair elections and all that kind of stuff but now he's just saying that this is this is useless and just do whatever you want and that is the biggest problem there are a few leaders. and activists and politicians on the politicians on the opposition scale on the opposition field who are calling people to vote no but still people are pretty much for straighted because they they they have this learned
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helplessness for instance in moscow almost half of the people according to the independent surveys against. the against those amendments but but almost half of this however are not going to go to vote so. this is. very sad but at the same time we may say that the authorities are doing just exactly this thing i mean they are trying to make adequate and. people who are against all those amendments they're trying to make them not to go to vote you can be against you can easily be against those amendments but just lease it home we will bring our people who depend on the budget who. whose salaries depend on the budget so we will make them vote and that's going to be totally fine i don't know what does the vote mean for russia's relationship with particularly
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the us and europe i'm saying that you know mr putin has already made russia bit something of a pariah annexing karrar primary invading eastern ukraine murder and attempted murder of opponents abroad these are all brought sanctions but might us in europe be forced to throw in the towel and just try and reintegrate russia or again despite what putin does. the foreign power self russia within the last years is became more and more on the western part of foreign policy the question is that we have now the worst the lowest level of relationship with the united states will have conflicts with european union continuation of the sanctions and the question for putin the main question for putin is not to improve this orations but the have a right good feel for maneuver ink in his relations with the west and let's not
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forget that during this last year we are strengthening our relationship with china and i think that in the coming year this relations with china will be even more stronger including possible a kind of military arms it's mainly of course against united states ok well jim if russia turns to china how does russia and europe deal with somebody who could essentially become president for life. well 1st off on the l.d. question turning to china i don't think it's any if i mean that is that is where russia's future orientation is is toward eurasian ism i don't think that was russia's 1st choice was certainly not mr putin's 1st choice i think that he wanted to have a good relationship with the west and risk keep in mind too that russian trouble when he ran for office in 2016 also ran on
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a platform of improving with russia which he was prevented from doing with this the so-called russia gate hysteria we've been living in for over 3 years that's that's not going to change i think putin is realistic enough that the prospects for any genuine improvement in ties with the west and especially the united states are simply not going to happen so rather than standing there on the doorstep of a bundle of flowers like some kind of bridge that's there or he's going to look somewhere else and that i think is really the only alternative at the same time however we see that there are people apparently in europe that realize that they do have to have some kind of relationship with russia the germans are keen to press ahead with nord stream too no matter what people in washington think so maybe there is some running room for russia there but i think that has to be put into the broader context of the eurasian integration ok and alexander then how do you want to see the european union the u.k. and the u.s. adopt his relationship with russia should they just accept the president putin is
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going to be the president for life or is there more pressure they can bring. well i can only repeat what i telling all the time when someone of the someone some foreigners asked me what are you what are you proposing for foreigners to do what i'm saying is that there was and countries should finally make the clear distinction between putin and his cronies and his regime and russia because sometimes they say western politicians keep saying that yes we totally understand that those of different things but still they're trying to make an agreement with putin without understanding that putin the 2nd like a bullying to school as long as you're trying to make an agreement with the bullies you're giving him out to not know 5 candies or $5.00 you're saying you don't touch me then he will sooner or later come back and say give me more candies or more dollars and you'll say why we had an agreement but he will respond that you have
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more so i don't hear. that's the problem of putin he does not associate himself with with the future probably well he probably associate himself with the future of this country but the problem is that he's not being driven by national interests he's being driven by his personal interests by hate but he's very personal thing to in his mind which is quite deprived from reality and. that's that's the biggest problem of russia right now because our authorities and our country those are 2 completely different things. people just want their lives to get better and better but the authorities just don't care about people they care only about staying in power forever and the guy who's head of this bunch of people willing to stay in power for about he's going to profit from reality that is the problem unfortunately gentlemen we're out of time but thanks to all of you to underwrite vale there of to jim and to alexandra solo v.f.
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and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dock. on for more debate go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can find us on twitter our handle is out a.j. inside story and i am up to 0 good for me bernard smith and the entire team here in doha by fire.
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