“We believe that any ideology of supremacy is... is not acceptable to us.” “The king shall false promise make And talk just for talking’s sake And nations plan horrific war The like as never seen before And taxes rise and lively down And nations wear perpetual frown.”
Last week, we started to investigate Vladimir Putin’s false promises toward Russian citizens, fulfilling Mother Shipton’s prophecy “The king shall false promise make.” Many Russians live in poverty, while Putin accumulated wealth that would make him the richest person on Earth. Today we will look into other promises made by Putin that as time passed by, he went directly against.
In the beginning, as the leader of Russia, Putin expressed his concern about the greed for power and assured it will not happen with him.
“Media Report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – Jun. 26, 2020, Putin: They say power is the greatest addiction. I have never felt that way. I consider it completely unacceptable to think that once you have climbed into the boss’s chair, you are entitled to keep it forever, until death.
‘What do you think about extending the presidential term of office and about the possibility of being elected to this office three times or more?’ My position is that I reject it. I have never been tempted to stay for a third term of office. Never. On my first day as Russian president, I made the decision that I would not violate the current constitution. It would have been easy to change the constitution, I’m speaking for myself here, and then run for a third term. But the constitution did not allow this because it’s written in the constitution that you cannot be elected for more than two successive terms. So, as your humble servant, I did not try to change the constitution for my own ends.”
But in a rigged nationwide vote, held between June 25 and July 1, 2020, Russia passed the constitutional referendum that allows Vladimir Putin to remain in power as the nation’s president until 2036, resetting his term limit to zero. The changes also include a ban on same-sex marriage, an affirmation of the Russian people's belief in God, and a provision banning the relinquishing of any Russian territory. Putin signed the changes into law, sparking protests and criticism. Frustration and anger has erupted in anti-putin protest.
“Media Report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – June 26, 2020, Putin: The second proposal [nullifying the previous two terms of office] basically means the lifting of the restrictions on anyone, on any citizen, including the serving president, allowing him to run for office in [presidential] elections. Of course, [it would be] in free and fair elections.”
“Media Report from sky News – July 3, 2020, Mikhail Khodorkovsky: It was total fraud. It started from the moment when the amendments were being introduced, when Putin just lied to the Federal Assembly about the types of amendments he was introducing. Secondly, it was fraud because the amendments he was introducing, could only be introduced with the help of a referendum and he decided not to hold one and now the constitution is at odds with itself. And thirdly it was fraud because the voting that he declared was held not even according to any voting rules but according to some really fraudulent rules, where he could invent any figure he wanted.”
Similarly, Putin also promised to strengthen democratic institutions and that Russia won’t become a totalitarian state.
“Media Report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – June 29, 2021, Putin: We must build an innovative economy and strengthen democratic institutions.”
But Russia’s democracy index plummeted to rank 146 out of 167 countries in 2022. And anyone who opposes Putin and the Kremlin is either barred from politics, imprisoned, threatened and silenced, or in some cases even killed.
“Media Report from BBC – Sep. 16, 2021, Reporter: Russia is voting. But is it free and fair? Sergei had planned to run for parliament, but because of his links to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, under a new law, Sergei is barred from elections for five years.
Sergei Boyko: ... more jails, more pressing on opposition, on free thinking, on free speech. My fear is we are going the second (authoritarian) way.
Reporter: Dmitry Gudkov is a Russian opposition politician who has fled to Bulgaria. His problems began when he announced he was running for parliament.
Dmitry: There were 15 raids, 200 officers (in) raids to my parents’ house, parents’ apartments, my brother’s apartment, my own apartment. It was a very clear signal that I can’t participate in the election. So they wanted to get rid of me. No more democracy in the country. It’s (a) dictatorship.”
“Media Report from BBC – Mar. 28, 2022, Reporter (m): Moscow, February 27, 2015.
Reporter (f): … was walking along this bridge when his killers struck.
Reporter (m): Just before midnight, Russian politician Boris Nemtsov – a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin – is shot dead on a bridge in the shadow of the Kremlin.”
“Media Report from BBC Newsnight – July 30, 2015, Reporter: The 1st of November, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko caught on CCTV on his way to a meeting with two former Russian spies at the upmarket Millennium Hotel in central London. Twenty-two days later, he was dead.
(m): Alexander Litvinenko was murdered on the orders of the Russian State, because he crossed two distinct red lines.
Reporter: This was the first red line – the Moscow apartment bombings in 1999. Three hundred were killed. Vladimir Putin blamed the Chechens, calling it a terrorist attack. Alexander Litvinenko co-wrote a book called ‘Blowing Up Russia.’ Sensationally, they accused the Russian secret service of bombing Moscow themselves to justify a new war. Russia has always denied this. I’m told this article that he wrote in July 2006, just four months before he was killed, was the second red line. In it, he made some wild allegations claiming Putin was a pedophile ...”
“Media Report from Journeyman Pictures – Sep. 6, 2016, Reporter: This is what can happen to investigative reporters. In November, a well-known columnist and blogger Oleg Kashin was nearly beaten to death outside his Moscow apartment. Over the past decade, dozens of journalists have been murdered. Many more have been beaten and mutilated. Few have been convicted for any of the attacks.”
“Media Report from CBC News – Apr. 15, 2023, Reporter: This was Alexei Navalny wailing after being poisoned with a Soviet nerve agent more than two and a half years ago. Now the Russian opposition leader is locked away in this prison and his supporters believe the Kremlin is trying to once again kill him.
Anna Veduta: We, unfortunately at this time, cannot rule out the possibility that he is being administrated small amounts of, small doses of, some kind of poison.
Reporter: She says he has severe stomach pain and has lost eight kilograms in just over two weeks. On April 7, an ambulance was called to the prison, but he wasn’t taken to the hospital.
Anna Veduta: They want to make him regret. They want him to rot there. They want him to get silenced.”
“Media Report from DW News – Apr. 28, 2023, Narration: Vladimir Kara-Murza’s trial is over and the verdict has been pronounced – guilty of high treason. The former journalist had criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Maria Eismont: Twenty-five years of imprisonment in a strict penal colony. Twenty-five years. I want to remind everyone that this is the maximum sentence for a person with no previous convictions.
Reporter: Ilya Yashin was arrested after he protested the Russian invasion in a YouTube video and denounced war crimes committed by the army. Among other things, he drew attention to the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Bucha. Yashin has been in jail awaiting trial ever since.”
“Media Report from A Current Affair – Jan. 17, 2023, Anchor: They’re the super rich, and super powerful. Plus, they have the best security money can buy. But not even that could save them. They’re the billionaires dropping dead in bizarre circumstances all around the world.
Reporter (f): A Russian politician has been found dead after a mysterious fall from a hotel.
Reporter (m): It’s been labeled ‘sudden Russian death syndrome.’ If you’re a member of the wealthy Russian elite, you better watch your back.
Reporter (m2): Within the span of 24 hours this week two wealthy former Russian gas executives found dead with their families.
Reporter (m): Twenty-three oligarchs have died in the past 12 months. Some killed with their entire families. All had access to large sums of a dwindling resource in Russia – money.
Bill Browder: The message that these murders send is very much that when somebody comes to you asking you for your money and you say, ‘I’m not going to hand it over,’ you can pretty much assume that you and perhaps even your family members will be killed.”
“Media Report from Inside Edition – Feb. 23, 2020, Heidi Blake: People fell off tall buildings, they were found hanged, found stabbed to death, fell under Tube trains, there is a whole series of bizarre and grizzly deaths that befell these men. Berezovsky was financing a group of people to investigate Vladimir Putin’s links to organized crime and his connections to a series of terror atrocities that had taken place in Russia. And those investigators similarly died in highly suspicious circumstances, both in Britain and in Russia.
Alexander Litvinenko: I was threatened with the murder of my six-year-old son.”
But perhaps the most damaging and destructive were his lies and false promises about his invasions. We will look further into these in our next episode.