27 April 2007

The Boss is Always Right

And if the Boss is wrong?

Well, in the case of the Russian chief electoral officer, that just isn't possible.

Reuters moved this story earlier in April:

Doubts over judgment of 'impartial' election official who claims Putin
always right

THE Russian official whose role is to act as an impartial umpire in elections has said in a published interview that president Vladimir Putin is always right.

Kremlin critics have raised doubts about the impartiality of Vladimir Churov, a former colleague of the president's who was last month chosen as chairman of the Central Election Commission.

In his first major newspaper interview since he started his new job, Mr Churov told the Kommersant newspaper yesterday that "Churov's Law No 1" is that Mr Putin is always right.

Asked by the newspaper what would happen if it turned out the Russian leader was mistaken on a certain issue, Mr Churov said: "How can Putin be wrong?"

Mr Churov worked alongside Mr Putin in the 1990s in the same local administration department in St Petersburg.

The new election chief has previously said he will treat all participants in elections fairly and equally.

Mr Churov will have a crucial role overseeing an election to the federal parliament in December and a presidential poll next March, when a replacement for Mr Putin is to be chosen.

In Russia, the election chief is often called on to adjudicate on allegations of vote violations, including claims bureaucrats have used their power to influence the outcome of elections.

Mr Churov replaced the independent-minded Alexander Veshnyakov at the helm of the election commission.

Analysts have interpreted the change of guard as part of a Kremlin plan to ensure a smooth transfer of power to Mr Putin's preferred candidate in the presidential poll.

Mr Putin, accused by critics of rolling back democracy, enjoys strong popularity after seven years of stable economic growth which brought relative prosperity for millions of Russians.