Russia in Need of Democracy?

Hello,

I was drinking my morning cup of coffee and was reading an article on the democracy issue in Russia. Here is the article to read. It is written by a Russian for Americans. (So the whole story may not be what it seems?)

When Americans start teaching democracy to Russians,

It only irritates the majority of Russian citizens. I doubt that US advice and suggestions can improve the state of democracy in Russia. Moreover, Washington’s criticism is an extra argument for the Russian authorities to accuse the U.S. of interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs and to crack down, saying “keep your hands off sovereign democracy”. Although US criticism of Russian reality often is superficial, imprecise or one-sided, it does not mean there are almost no faults with democracy in Russia. These faults are graver than the Kremlin imagines them in its on-going dispute with the West concerning where Russia is headed.

I’ve recently traveled all over Russia and met thousands of people. I can confirm: the congressmen who criticize Russia, and who don’t see it closely, have no idea of what goes on here. And here is what’s going on: as the Duma election approaches, the preparation for falsifying its results is in full swing. At the local level, officials have already received quotas stating where and how much the United Russia party should get. Somewhere it is 69 percent, while somewhere else it is complete 100 percent. Governors lean over backwards to secure the required result. They have a lot to lose and to fight for, because it is the president who appoints governors.

On that background, a movement in support of the third presidential term for Vladimir Putin is growing. Under the threat of F-grading or salary non-payment, students, teachers, and doctors are forced to attend the rallies, collectively imploring the president to stay: “Don’t leave, Father, we’ll die without you”.

Newspapers ignore it, because there has been introduced censorship. The opposition has no opportunity to speak either at federal or at regional channels. While saying that discussion is important, which Putin himself said this week, the United Russia refused to take part in debates. Consequently, the planned debate is doomed to be boring and full of meaningless accusations of parties against each other. One more circumstance: there have been created the conditions in Russia making it extremely dangerous to finance the opposition. For businessmen, the fact became evident after Khodorkovsky’s arrest. The United Russia is the only party in which it is safe to invest, and the investment will be good for business.

All that leads to the following conclusion: Russia’s election on December 2 is becoming as lawful as elections in Belarus or Turkmenistan. That is the indicator of the state of democracy and political freedom in Russia, about which the US Congress debates.

One might ask me: “Why don’t you boycott such election then?” The matter is, we have studied our Belarusian colleagues’ experience and we understood: waiver of participation in elections plays into the authorities’ hands. They will anyway create an illusion of wide choice by means of dummy parties created specially for that purpose. Russia’s democratic opposition should not give up the struggle, because there are those who stand for a law-governed state, freedom, and people power. After all, someone has to represent their interests. We, and not the U.S., need democracy in Russia.

Boris Nemtsov, political council member of the Union of Right Forces (SPS).

I liked the article and I believe that this article has much truth within it? (Does It?)

I have been saying all along…. America stay out of Russian Politics!

Kyle

comments always welcome.

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