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The Daily Vertical: Planning Putin's Coronation (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

It appears that next year's Russian presidential election will be turned into a celebration of the restoration of the empire.

Reports surfaced this week suggesting that the Kremlin is considering moving the date of next year's presidential election from March 11 to March 18.

And March 18, of course, is the anniversary of Russia's forceful and illegal annexation of Crimea.

So much for subtlety.

WATCH Today's Daily Vertical

For much of the international community, Russia's seizure of Crimea set a dangerous precedent.

It was the day that Vladimir Putin's Russia became the first country in Europe since Nazi Germany to forcefully annex another country's territory.

But for most Russians, of course, the seizure of Crimea means something else entirely.

It's a metaphor for what they see as Russia's imperial revival.

It's the founding myth of the new Russian Empire.

The reports about changing the election date certainly smell like authorized leaks to me.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn't deny them and State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin spoke favorably about the idea.

This is probably going to happen.

And for a Kremlin that places a high premium on symbolism, the significance of such a move should not be underestimated.

Because not only would it mean that Moscow was further sanctifying an act many in the world consider to be a crime.

It would also effectively transform Putin's reelection into the coronation of an emperor.

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