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.