Thursday, September 30, 2010

Governance in the Russian Federation

This is simply a series of links for those who care to read them to give you an insight into "Sovereign Democracy" as then-President Putin described it.  The difference between  Democracy and Sovereign Democracy being the difference between a chair and an electric chair as some wag put it.  The trigger for this blog is the recent firing of Moscow's Mayor Luzhkov by President Medvedev. 

During the Yeltsin years, mayors and regional governors were directly elected however Putin put a stop to that in 2004.  He has been criticized by the West for this as "undoing democratic reforms", however these regional people tended to be elected using their own version of Sovereign Democracy.  They created their own private fiefdoms which they used as power bases and pillaged at will.  They were answerable to no one and accountable for nothing.  At least now they are accountable to Mr. Putin, whose authorization was undoubtedly needed for Luzhkov's termination. 

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about Luzhkov's business dealings, his wife's real estate billions and the whole issue of corruption in Russian politics. 

The last two links concern those who have attempted to investigate corruption and Human Rights abuses.  You may also want to Google Anna Politkovskaya and Natalya Estemirova. 

Medvedev sacks Luzhkov - Interfax.com

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov sacked by President Medvedev - BBC

Analysis - Moscow mayor's messy exit is no Medvedev triumph - Yahoo News UK

 Sacked Moscow mayor fears return to Stalinism - CNN

In shift, Kremlin reopens cases of Russian reporters' unsolved murders - Christian Science Monitor

Russian journalists face violence, intimidation - Christian Science Monitor

 

6 comments:

  1. All so very very sad. And no different from Stalinism.

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  2. If you credit Hitler with EVERY death associated with WWII, Stalin killed more in his 30 year reign of terror but they were his own people. The terror was applied at random. Russia is not there yet by a long shot. Having enjoyed free speech of a sort only for the Yeltsin years, things are just back to "normal". All dissidence is crushed, true, but if you are not a dissident there is not as likely to be a midnight knock on your door resulting in execution now or death in the Gulag later. The rules of survival are still the same as in Stalin's time, though.
    The following book is on my to buy list: The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia

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  3. The more things change the more they stay the same.

    What about the Russian bloggers?

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  4. Are there such things as Russian bloggers?

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  5. Yes, there are Russian bloggers and if they are politically critical, I expect they are under surveillance and likely harassed. It takes a great deal of bravery to fight the establishment in Russia. Get too reform minded and they will take you out. Even Medvedev whom I suspect is a decent chap who would like to do all he says is powerless to really effect change.

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  6. See this article:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8194395.stm

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