Exit, Russian Democracy
For a leader who has everything — control of the military, the government, the voting process and the media — President Vladimir Putin of Russia looks increasingly desperate and threatened ahead of parliamentary elections on Sunday. . . his greedy grab for victory while quashing credible political opposition demonstrates that this is no free and fair election and Russia is no democracy.
. . . No one expected a smooth trajectory from the seven decades of Soviet dictatorship to Jeffersonian democracy, but the years under Mr. Putin have been a whipsaw. Buoyed by high oil revenues and a rising economy, he is credited with restoring national pride and stability. But Mr. Putin has so emasculated the democratic institutions that evolved in the 1990s that it is apparent he has little confidence in his people. The Kremlin controls the political process, deciding who can run for office and who gets access to national television coverage.
. . . Washington’s ties with Russia — bungled by President Bush and given short shrift so far in America’s presidential debates — deserve more attention. The United States, Europe and Japan prematurely brought Russia into the elite group of leading industrialized nations by arguing that it would encourage Moscow on a democratic path. Now they must stand together as democracies and make clear that Russia’s reversion to its autocratic past is unacceptable.
What a fascinating rant against the president of a sovereign nation (who enjoys an 80% approval rating) as Sulzberger & Co. give our own (27% approved) president a daily boost. Pravda might as easily have written;
For a leader who has everything — control of the military, the government, the voting process and the media — President George Bush of the United States looks increasingly desperate and threatened ahead of general elections in 2008.
We brought Russia prematurely into the G8? Surely you jest, Pinch. Have you been in seance contact with Milton Friedman?
EXIT AMERICAN DEMOCRACY might be a useful editorial headline, as we Americans rush toward
- economic destruction,
- the decline of constitutional law,
- a congressional approval rating of 17% and
- overwhelming tendencies toward government by the highest bidder.
“Now they must stand together as democracies and make clear that Russia’s reversion to its autocratic past is unacceptable.”
Are we ever going to give up this misdirected notion of ourselves as the (flawed) upholders of moral rectitude throughout the world? Up to its ears with its own shortcomings (build shiny corporate center–disband foreign offices), one would think the Times would take itself far less seriously.
Certainly the rest of the world does.