Democracy In Russia??

Discussion in 'General Global Topics' started by Bonnie, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Bonnie

    Bonnie Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2004
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    Democracy in Russia
    Based on testimony delivered before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
    by Bruce P. Jackson
    02/18/2005 12:00:00 AM

    (1) What are the necessary institutional requirements for a successor state of the former Soviet Union to succeed in a transition to democracy? And how have these institutions, which would be essential for a democratizing Russia, fared in President Putin's Russia?

    (2) What policy is President Putin pursuing towards democracy in Russia and towards the prospect of positive democratic change in Russia's neighbors?

    (3) Has Russia become hostile to both the democratic values and the institutions of the West? And, if so, what should be done about it?


    IN RETROSPECT, we now recognize that the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky on October 25, 2003 by heavily armed, special forces troops was the watershed event in the deterioration of democracy in Russia. Prior to this arrest, the soft suppression of democratic forces appeared to some as a manifestation of Moscow's historic political insecurity and an understandable effort to "manage' democracy and ameliorate the excesses of, and societal stress from, the Yeltsin era. Subsequent to October 2003, it became apparent that what President Putin had undertaken was a comprehensive crackdown on each and every perceived rival to state power and the re-imposition of the traditional Russian state, autocratic at home and imperial abroad.

    However, if we focus only on the animus President Putin has towards Khodorkovksy and the resultant "show trials" of Yukos executives, we risk missing the breadth of the crackdown on democratic forces and risk failing to see the logic of authoritarian and possibly even dictatorial power behind the events in Russia over the past two years.


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