Geopolitical Chaos Amidst Elections in Russia and India

The approaching elections in India and the recent elections in Russia share some remarkable similarities. It should be unfavourable for the entire globe to witness the Moscow style, even with Mukhtar Ansari’s passing.


In his diplomatic journal, former US ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith intriguingly referred to India as a “country of active anarchy.” Furthermore, India is mysterious like ‘God and money’ according to Salman Rushdie, who is every age group’s favourite writer.

With India becoming as the world’s third largest economy in the scientific age of the twenty-first century, he finds himself ensnared in the Hinduism’s mystical web and on the verge of altering the discourse on democracy and progress. We are also concerned about its horrible sickness trying to spread to Nepal.

Not every one of the more than 70 nations having elections this year is a democracy. Because of this, none of these elections are free, fair, or equal. Organisations like the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, IDEA, and V-Dem frequently assess the condition of democracy globally. The Economist claims that alerts were issued earlier this year about the fact that at least 28 of the nations that will be voting this year would not adhere to the essential democratic norms. The world’s largest and most advanced multiparty parliament is the European Union Parliament, which will be chosen this year. From a democratic perspective, it might be categorised as high level. “It is a functioning parliament, in which the majority is not predetermined by coalition government or factionalism” (Democracy Without Borders: January 2024).

In and of itself, optimism is an oddity. It’s fascinating to consider that the World Parliament, like the European Parliament, began with little more than vision and advocacy. We need to keep up the multifaceted battle to bring about greater justice and democracy in the world. ‘We must also think broadly. Envision a world election taking place at some point in the future. It’s not at all unrealistic to achieve what initially appears unattainable. Democracy Without Borders is promoting the idea of a global parliament and universal elections, and it has already gained a lot of prominent supporters, such as former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The primary request is that a legislative assembly be established at the UN in order to move closer to the creation of a universal parliament. a world parliament, jointly elected by all world citizens’ (Marcus Paus, European Journal of Futures Research, 2021). Likewise ‘The V-Dem Democracy Report 2024, titled “Democracy Winning and Losing at the Ballot”, highlights the continuity of an autocratisation trend in the world, noted by previous reports from V-Dem and other organizations such as Freedom House, the Economist Intelligence Unit or International IDEA.  

According to V-Dem, the share of the world’s population living in autocratizing countries since 2009 has exceeded the proportion living in democratizing countries, with 71% of the world’s population or 5.7 billion people currently living in autocracies. This constitutes a 48% increase compared to ten years ago.

According to the report, autocratisation in 2023 was ongoing in 42 countries, home to 35% of the world’s population, while democratization was taking place in 18 countries, hosting only 5% of the world’s population.

Sorted by the regime types identified by V-Dem, in 2023, 32 countries in the world were considered liberal democracies, 59 electoral democracies, 55 electoral autocracies, and 33 closed autocracies. Compared to 2022, there was little change in this regard except that the number of electoral democracies stood at 58 and that of electoral autocracies at 56.

Democracy Without Borders issued a dire warning about the US election earlier this year. “Of course, the presidential election in the US is particularly interesting and will have a strong impact. Much, but certainly not all, of what happens in other democracies around the world depends on who the next US president will be. If Trump or another Republican wins, we can expect a serious blow to democracy, the erosion of human rights and democratic principles, not just in America, but everywhere. The course of the Russian war against Ukraine, the situation in Palestine, and many other international issues will be decisively affected by these elections, including the future course of the United Nations. If Trump wins, it will strengthen and encourage dictators in other countries, especially Putin, and weaken multilateralism. Amidst such theoretical ambitions, it will be useful to recall the elections held before entering the electoral arena of neighboring India this year.

The African country Democratic Republic of the Congo got its first female prime minister on April 1, while in Senegal, on April 3, Bassiro Diome Faye became the youngest president of a West African country. He was released from prison on March 23, just 10 days before the presidential election. Fay was imprisoned for inciting rebellion. The party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been badly defeated in local elections in Turkey, which is considered the hub of Eurasia. The results of the local elections in Turkey have turned out to be different from the predictions made about the elections taking place in 2024.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of the North African country of Egypt was sworn in for the third time on April 2 for an additional six-year term. He was sworn in at the country’s new administrative capital (NAC). It is about 28 miles southeast of Cairo. Earlier, elections have been held in Bangladesh, Taiwan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Senegal and Bhutan. At the moment, the political fever of the election debate has hit America and India in the worst way. Surprisingly, some similarities between the recent Russian elections and the ongoing Indian elections are frightening.

There is an odd show going on as the Lok Sabha elections in India get near. By claiming that the Congress committed treason by handing over the island of Kachaetivu to Sri Lanka in order to strengthen Sri Lanka’s geopolitical agenda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thrown the 1974 India-Sri Lanka border agreement into question. Given that China has occupied 2000 square meters of land, it is easy to understand why the opposition alliance from Ramlila Maidan called Modi a “coward who cannot look red-eyed in front of China” and that Modi was just paying the Congress lip service on the island of Kachaetivu, Sri Lanka. ‘Tit for tat is old. Tweet for Tweet is the new weapon.’ Congress Leader P Chidambaram said that ‘Will Foreign Minister Mr. Jaishankar please refer to the RTI reply dated 27-1-2015. I believe that Mr Jaishankar was the Foreign Secretary on 27-1-2015. The Reply justified the circumstances under which India acknowledged that a small island belonged to Sri Lanka. Why is the Foreign Minister and his ministry doing a somersault now? Before Mr Jaishankar and others make statements straining the relations between India and Sri Lanka, let them remember that there are 25 lakh Sri Lankan Tamils and 10 lakh Indian Tamils living in Sri Lanka Any untruthful and belligerent statement on Kachchatheevu after 50 years will bring the Sri Lankan government and the 35 lakh Tamils into confrontation Let the government show its belligerence to China. Under the BJP government, China has occupied 2000 square km of Indian territory and is fortifying the area. China is on a re-naming spree and is merrily changing the names of villages and landmarks. Why is the Foreign Minister subdued in his response to the actions of China? The opposition alliance has been more aggressively pushed into the geopolitical debate, according to a tweet from Home Minister P Chidambaram under the Congress government.

Putin and Modi share commonalities

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who has been in prison for almost twelve years and suffering from nerve agents, is being written by the Western media continuously in the prison by the Putin administration. It is said that he was killed on February 14 by a punch to the heart using a trained boxer. Western leaders have held Putin directly responsible for Navalny’s death. US President Joe Biden called Navalny’s death ‘more evidence of Putin’s brutality’ (The Guardian, 16 February 2024). The Putin administration did not even give Navalny’s body to his wife. But scenes and pictures of thousands of supporters paying tribute are gaining prominence in Western media.

Incidentally, Mukhtar Ansari, a five-time Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, was killed on March 28 by the BJP-led Yogi government of UP. Ansari’s crime is that he has always fought against feudalism in favor of the poor, the destitute, and the poor. Afzal Ansari, Mukhtar’s brother and sitting assembly member, and his son Umar Ansari have made it clear that they have been urging the Modi government to refute the theory that Mukhtar’s assassination was a conspiracy. This is the second time, he was poisoned about 40 days ago. Most recently, on March 18 and March 22, he was given this ‘poison’ again, causing his condition to worsen’ (BBC, March 29, 2024).

Mukhtar Ansari has been lodged in jails in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh since 2005, facing more than 60 different criminal cases against him by the BJP government. British author and historian Patrick French in his book ‘India: A Portrait’ refers to him as ‘one of the most popular godfathers of Uttar Pradesh’ (Penguin Publications, 2007). Patrick French is one of the most interesting writers in the world of Indian politics, business, and crime, meeting almost everyone and telling their stories. “Can they tell me the name of one person I attacked, who is from a weaker section? I have always fought against the powerful, I have taken power from them. I will continue what I am doing till the end of my life,” Mukhtar told French.

India, like Russia, is voting for Modi’s third term exactly one month after Mukhtar’s death. A curfew was imposed in Uttar Pradesh during Mukhtar’s funeral. Putin called an election last March to legitimize his sixth term in Russia, exactly a month after Navalny’s death. Putin reportedly won over 87 percent of the vote in that election. On the other hand, Mukhtar’s death must have been a bad omen for the entire world to look almost Moscow-style.

The Modi administration, which has captured all the state agencies since 2014, has announced that it will rule by itself until 2047, the centenary of the country’s independence, while it is contesting the elections for its third term. For that, he has to arrest Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who is also a tribal leader of Jharkhand, and the decline of Indian democracy is being established globally. Modi’s ambitions have been hampered by violence in Manipur (where more than 200 civilians have been killed), the wounding of the India-China border dispute, accusations of overturning the state governments of Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Bihar, and the international suspicion of extreme misuse of the ED and CIB. BJP has challenged the election campaign.

After the Supreme Court of India’s order, the controversy over the disclosure of the much-publicized alleged electoral bonds in which more than 68 percent (about Rs. 8 lakh crore) was drawn by the BJP is gaining prominence in the media around the world. Among those donating to BJP, the case of Magunta Reddy, the liquor baron who was used as an excuse to arrest Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who donated 55 crores to BJP has become a strange joke in itself. Most of the world’s liberal democratic countries, including Europe’s powerhouses Germany and the US, have openly criticized Kejriwal’s arrest. As an obstacle to Modi, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud is being discussed in the international world as a courageous judge.

Modi had a ‘Chai pe Charcha’ with the world billionaire Bill Gates to divert attention from the international media on these issues. Similarly, Russian President Putin went viral worldwide with a nearly two-hour-long Kremlin interview with American conservative journalist Tucker Carlson before the election. International organizations monitoring democracy have been warning since the beginning. India, the world’s most populous democracy, is also voting this year. According to Freedom House, India can no longer be considered a functioning, free, and fair democracy under Prime Minister Modi’ (Democracy Without Borders, 2024).

Questioning the legitimacy of the election process, Rahul Gandhi warned PM Modi and said ‘If the BJP wins the election by match-fixing and then changes the constitution, it will set the country on fire… then this country will not survive… this is not a normal election. . This election must be won by the opposition coalition to protect the country, to protect our constitution’ (Indian Express: April 1, 2024). Probably, the Indian media has prominently mentioned that no opposition alliance has made such a serious accusation in the context of Indian elections except in 1977.

While it is estimated that Putin-Xi Jinping and Modi can stand together as an alternative to the West in the world geopolitical turmoil, ‘even if India has not bought a single nuclear reactor from the US, the reality that Delhi is now closer to Washington than at any time in the past cannot be ignored’ (C. Rajamohan, Indian Express: March 26, 2024). Aiming at the upcoming elections, the Modi administration has raised its anti-China tone. On the other hand, it was Modi who sent the first congratulatory message in continuation of Putin.

However, Modi will undoubtedly adhere to the American pole as opposed to the pole in which Beijing takes part. He has already demonstrated how ashamed he is of it by criticising Israel in instances like the tragedy in Gaza.

(This Article was first published in Nepali in Kantipur Daily on April 10, 2024.)

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