Welcome to this online class. Our performance objective is to teach you how to rule for life. Out of the numerous dictators in the world today, we have decided to pick on Vladmir Putin as our case study. My name is Anthony and I am your facilitator.
Russians are set to approve constitutional reforms as a manoeuvre to allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in the Kremlin for life. Initially planned for April 22, the vote was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic but rescheduled after Putin said the epidemic had peaked and officials began reporting lower numbers of new cases.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born 7 October 1952. A Russian politician and former intelligence officer, Putin has served as President of Russia since 2012, previously holding the position from 1999 until 2008. He was also the Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. On 4 March 2012, he won the 2012 Russian presidential elections in the first round, with 63.6% of the vote, despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging. Putin won the 2018 presidential election with more than 76% of the vote. His fourth term began on 7 May 2018, which will last until 2024.
I have always suspected Russian’s strong man, Vladimir Putin, is more African than Russian. The reason? African leaders have the genetic code for ruling forever etched in their DNA.
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to many of the world’s longest-ruling heads of state. By early 2019, three African heads of state had been in power for more than three decades each: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea, Paul Biya in Cameroon, and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda.
More than a dozen other African heads of state have been in power for at least ten years. In August 2017, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos stepped down after thirty-eight years in office, and in November of that year, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was forced from office after thirty-seven years by a military coup. In 2019, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir was ousted after three decades in power. Extension of terms became fairly regular occurrences, popping up every one to two years on the continent in countries including Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda.
Putin is certainly African, based on his manipulation of power in Russia. Nigeria’s leaders, like Obasanjo, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and so on, all ex military officers, who tasted power as both military and civilian, had hidden agenda to rule forever, but unlike Putin, they could not realise their quest.
The infamous 2006 experience is still fresh, whereby Nigeria’s senate rejected an amendment put forth by President Olusegun Obasanjo that would have allowed him to serve a third term.
Russia’s strong man has beaten the likes of Obasanjo by amending the Russian constitution which will enable him to stay in power till 2036. Some say this can only happen in Russia! In Africa, staying put in power us certainly not new.
Putin, who would be 83 at the end of his tenure, had assistance from a staunch supporter, 83 year old Valentina Tereshkova. She is the first and youngest woman ever launched into outer space. Hear her reasons for sending the proposal to the senate:
“Putin knows much more than all of us. Why do we need to create some artificial constitutions? We should be honest, open, consider publicly and cancel all limitations on the number of presidential terms in the Constitution. Or, if the situation demands and people want that, let the current president run again for this position.”
Tereshkova’s presentation eventually led to the removal of the legal barrier to Putin’s continuous reelections.
This sudden turn of events in Russia flared so much anger among Putin’s opposition. But what can they do? Putin is the strongest man in Russia.
Analysis of Putin’s technique of staying in power can be summarised in these 10 strategies:
1. Pretend You Are Democratic
2. Keep Tabs On Everyone Around You Including The Citizens
3. Deal Ruthlessly With Anyone That Opposes You
4. Make Your Allies Super Rich
5. Never Disclose Your Level Of Wealth And Power (the ‘keep them guessing’ rule)
6. Become The Ultimate Decision Maker
7. Invest In And Ensure Your Military Is The Best In The World
8. Get Your Allies To Channel Your Personal Ideologies Such As Amending The Constitution In Order To Stay In Power For The Next 16 Years.
9. Have A Firm But Subtle Grip On National Media
10. Use The Power Of Propaganda (especially through a state religion, in controlling the people).
This course is an invaluable lesson on how to be president for life. Especially now that our very own president Buhari of Nigeria has this sudden miraculous agility and health. If President Buhari have what it takes to be president for life, just like Putin, then he needs to read this article.