It is all about the Russian election now: the world press, the Russian press is filled with articles about the upcoming elections. Of course, the position of the West, which views Putin as Public Enemy #1, focuses on the fact that except for a brief hiatus when his friend Medvedev served as Prime Minister, Putin has led Russia since 2000. This is, of course, very undemocratic. Democracy means term limits. But does it? I always liked Lincoln’s definition of democracy, government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” which never once mentioned term limits. While the Western press is quick to point out Putin’s long of term of office as proof that he is, must be in fact, a “dictator” of sorts, they do not even look twice at Angela Merkel, who has been in power since 2005 and was recently reelected to serve another term. Nor is she an exception; long term chancellors are quite common in Germany. Kohl was chancellor for 16 years. Adenauer 14 years. They were never called “dictators” neither by the West nor the German people. When chancellors are elected out of office, they go, in accordance with the will of the people. If the reason for these long terms is, as is often said, that Germans dislike change, then it could be said that Putin has been in office so long for a similar reason, the Russian peoplelong for stability. Moreover, they feel he has the best interests of Russia and the Russian people in his heart.(http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-43419583/keeping-faith-in-putin-despite-poverty)long for stability.
Not all, certainly not all, but the vast majority of the Russian people love, trust and respect him. This is reflected in his consistently high approval ratings, always hovering around 80% and hitting a jaw dropping 89% in 2015. The love and respect of the Russian people for Putin can be compared to the love and respect of the American people for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected President four times in succession. It was only death that took him from the people. It was only after his death that term limits were put in place. One can only wonder why?
Democracy my friends, has nothing to do with term limits, nor dictatorship with how long someone leads his people. Democracy simply means that the will of the people is reflected in the fact that they choose who will lead them for as long as they want.
Vladimir Vladimirovich may you live long and be reelected often.
Mary Metzger is a New Yorker living in Russia