Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category
Posted by Mike on August 14, 2008
There were discussions. There were negotiations. They lasted years. For some reason, today is the day Donald Tusk agreed to allow American-made missile interceptors on Polish soil. In exchange, the United States will provide assistance to Poland so that they can strengthen their military. The timing of today’s agreement is obviously anything but a coincidence.
Having a long history with Russia that includes partition and Communist occupation, few nations have more knowledge of Russia’s national pastime than Poland. Having experienced firsthand brutal occupation by both Germany and the Soviet Union during the 20th Century and now having witnessed Russia’s forceful return into the “near abroad” within the last week, Poland has decided that teaming up with the United States to strengthen its own forces and to help protect freedom-loving nations around them is in everyone’s best interest.
Free Poland is a country that suffered for too long to turn its back on liberty now. Today’s agreement is another example of the resolute pride that has sustained Poland throughout its all too interesting history. Kocham Polske!
Posted in Europe, International Relations, Politics, Russia, War on Terror | Tagged: Donald Tusk, missile defense, Poland, Russia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Mike on August 13, 2008
Most criticism of George W. Bush is off base and will look downright silly in a few years; however, one criticism of Bush is completely warranted. When Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw a man he could trust, he should have done a double take. Today was the double take.
When the Soviet Union Russia invaded Georgia a couple of days ago, President Bush was a little slow in reassuring our ally that the US would stand by its side. At the very moment our ally was invaded by its former slave master, the U.S’s reaction should have been repeated statements of support coupled with actions that would make Russia take notice. Thankfully, John McCain is on record stating that Russia should be kicked out of the G8 and that the U.S. should build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Since it is now clear that Iran is not the only threat in the region, that would be fine with me. So would fast tracking Georgia, Ukraine and other willing members of Russia’ near abroad into NATO.
A healthy friendship with Russia is in the United States’ best interest. The thing is, a healthy friendship with the United States is also in Russia’s best interest. The world has basically ignored Russia while it whittled away at its civil liberties, armed American enemies in the Middle East, and poisoned people on foreign soil. The world’s reaction to this crisis has been reassuring. It seems that partying like its 1968 was a step too far.
Posted in Election 2008, Europe, International Relations, Politics, Russia, tyranny, War on Terror | Tagged: Election 2008, George W. Bush, Georgia, John McCain, missile defense, Putin's eyes, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin | 2 Comments »
Posted by Ryan on August 11, 2008
…And I’m sure Putin is reeeally shuddering! Of course, it’s only a matter for the UN because Georgia’s Black Sea oil supply-line and port is being targeted, otherwise they’d wait for a few more Russian-on-Georgian calamities, like a decade of famine or ethnic cleansing policies, to take place. Either way, Russia’s Security Council veto will be exercised until Russia’s goals are obtained. Gotta love the UN!
After an attack coinciding with the Olympic Games, Russia decided not to stop with simply coming to the aid of ethnic Russians in the separatist South Ossetia region (North Ossetia is actually in Russia). They’ve made airstrikes and incursions into central Georgia Proper — way beyond the mere defense of Russians in South Ossetia. Possibly one to two thousand people have already died; add all civilians and soldiers and that number should rise once the dust settles. Plus, the EU tried an unsuccessful ceasefire agreement, 170 American nationals have been taken out of Georgia, and now the majestic UN is involved.
We can learn a few things about this whole incident: it’s obvious that Putin still controls Russia, the UN cares more about oil pipelines than people, and the old Cold War fear of Russian expansionism is not fully over.
EPA service photo.
Posted in Europe, International Relations, Politics, Russia | Tagged: Black Sea Pipeline, European Union, Georgia, Ossetia, Russia, United Nations, Vladimir Putin | 3 Comments »
Posted by Ryan on June 22, 2008
Finally a journalist who has some sense of historical perspective beyond the contemporary headlines! Andrew Roberts wrote this article* comparing George W. Bush to another heavily maligned US president in his day, Harry S Truman.
I think the comparison may stand in historical perspective. Harry Truman was deeply disliked by the American people in 1952, blamed for an unpopular war, and navigating through a tough economic transition after World War II. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Truman was still viewed poorly: aside from the disastrous Korean stalemate, his “Fair Deal” fell flat, Congress kept flipping from Dem to Republican on him, Truman’s administration was constantly dogged for having real communist spies all over it, etc. But no one remembers much of that through the lens of history, since the basic tenants of Truman’s Cold War policies were used by all subsequent administrations in a truly effective way until 1991.
Today, he’s viewed by members of both parties as a model President, even in the top five to some experts and certainly in the top 10 to others! Even She Who Must Not Be Named once said that we need another Harry Truman — one who will make good decisions in the face of tough choices or being unpopular.
In a sense, we do in George W. Bush. As Roberts’ article explains, a President is usually remembered in history for one or two things. In 2030, Bush will not be remembered for Valerie Plame or Katrina or the “recession.” Once the contemporary politics has moved on, he’ll most likely be remembered for Iraq, Afghanistan, and for keeping America safe for the last 7 1/2 years of his Administration following 9/11. Or at least Bush hopes so.
Pic from MIT.
* — Roberts, writing for a British paper, mixes up Warren Harding with Herbert Hoover initially. As an historian this kind of bothers me, but his larger point still stands (plus he’s quoting from a left-wing news source, and you know loosely the Left uses history!)
Posted in Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, Russia, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: 9/11, Afghanistan, Andrew Roberts, Cold War, Communism, Fair Deal, George W. Bush, Harry S Truman, Herbert Hoover, Iraq War, Katrina, Korean War, She Who Must Not Be Named, Valerie Plame, War on Terror, Warren Harding | 5 Comments »
Posted by Ryan on May 27, 2008
The blogosphere is buzzing with news and facts about Barack Obama’s own statements that would have destroyed any Republican or She Who Must Not Be Named.
Malkin’s got great coverage of the most recent one: that Barry’s uncle was one of the first on the scene to liberate Auschwitz. I knew Obama had communist tendencies, but if his uncle really was in that first wave into Auschwitz, Poland, back in World War II, he would have been a Soviet! Perhaps Obama was ducking sniper fire while giving that statement.
Quayle couldn’t spell potato and was crucified, Dubya’s misunderestimated the OBGYN’s love for their patients became a constant gaffe theme, but Obama’s the second coming. Similar little gaffes would have destroyed other candidates or permanently altered how we think about them.
I think this will be one of those growing stories from behind the scenes that everyone will be talking about, which will finally get the MSM to report it in a few weeks or months.
Posted in Blogroll, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, Russia | Tagged: Auschwitz, Barack Obama, Dan Quayle, Dubya, Gaffes, OBGYN, She Who Must Not Be Named | 5 Comments »
Posted by Ryan on May 23, 2008
NOTE: A FEW LIGHT SPOILERS:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008 ) was a damn great flick, following in the serious, yet sometimes tongue-in-cheek, pulp action of the originals! It was full of fun and outrageous death-defying action sequences, mystical plot twists, and of course the commies are the bad guys this time!
In fact, the Russian Communist Party is not too happy about the movie’s portrayal of Soviet Communists in 1957. Note to Comrade: get over it — your predecessors were well-documented monsters and we know you aren’t anymore! Marxist-Communism as a way of life has been exposed as a failure currently rotting on the ash heap of history. The movie simply elaborates on already existing stereotypes of Soviets in the post-Stalin/pre-Sputnik period.
Back to the flick. I enjoyed the fun and quickly accepted the unusual premise they through at us. If you didn’t, the tone of this overview will not match yours. Indiana Jones still rocks as an older professor. I really enjoyed seeing Indy back in action. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have earned every dollar that their film makes this and in subsequent weekends.
So, I don’t want to say anymore because there are things about this film that can be spoiled. In short, I haven’t been this satisfied with a movie in a long time. Both nostalgia and the film’s sense of fun (plus I love seeing commies as the bad-guys; the Nazis were getting old in these films) have earned an unabashed A for this film in my opinion. If you have other thoughts after seeing the flick, comment using as many spoilers as you want– there is much to discuss.
Official movie picture printed in the Boston Globe.
Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Pop Culture, Russia | Tagged: George Lucas, Indiana Jones, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Nazis, Russian Communist Party, Sputnik, Stalin, Steven Spielberg | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Mike on May 6, 2008
Russia inaugurates its new President, Dmitry Medvedev tomorrow, and no one is really sure whether Russia will turn toward democracy as they did under Yeltsin. Many argue that despite Medvedev’s constitutional role, the real power will continue to rest with the puppet-master Vladimir Putin, the soon to be Prime Minister. If this is turns out to be the case, Russian democracy will continue to whither.
New York’s best newspaper printed an interesting overview by the Washington Compost’s Anne Applebaum on this very question. Applebaum overstates (slightly, and I place heavy emphasis on that word) the current state of Russian democracy.
Although Russia sometimes looks like a democracy, it is not a democracy. Elections aren’t merely rigged, they are carefully programmed in advance. Voters aren’t just coerced, they are never given any real choice at all.
I disagree with the use of the term “rigged.” Russia’s political system is corrupt and undemocratic. The media is state-controlled. Opposition assembly is technically allowed, but with severe restrictions. Political opponents seem to literally be dropping – like – flies. Some will argue that this constitutes rigging and I think that position is reasonable, but we should be careful here because words mean things. It’s undemocratic, dangerous, and sick, just not rigging. People are still technically free to vote as they please. Nevertheless, Applebaum’s point is well taken. Russia has turned away from democracy under Putin and will continue to do so if he turns out to be the one pulling the strings after tomorrow.
No one can be certain about what happens next. Many predict a puppet situation, but I predict a power struggle. Putin currently has standing and political capital. Medvedev will have institutional power. Neither man will want to be the other’s puppet. Struggle is inevitable. That’s just my hunch and could be total crap. In any event, Russia is about to get interesting.
Posted in Europe, Politics, Russia | Tagged: Anne Applebaum, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia, Russian democracy, Vladimir Putin | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Mike on April 30, 2008
The first conspiracy theory I heard regarding the last Russian tsar’s family was that Princess Anastasia escaped execution by the Bolsheviks and was living somewhere in Europe. Leonard Nimoy (or whatever that dude who played Spock is called, help me out Ryan) even hosted spooky shows about it. That is, until 1991 when the Princesses remains were recovered along with most of the other Romanovs who were murdered by the Communists.
Today, DNA tests have confirmed that Russian Orthodox Saints Czarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria, the last of the Romanovs did not survive. Conspiracy theory over. Actually, I can’t back that up. You never know with those kind of people.
Posted in Europe, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion, Russia | Tagged: Alexei, conspiracy theorists, Czarist Russia, Romanovs, Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, Tsarist Russia | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ryan on March 2, 2008
While the voting is not finished over in Russia it’s safe to say that Putin’s hand-picked successor, who’s practically running unopposed by any serious candidate, Dmitry Medvedev will become Russia’s third president. Somehow I can’t see this guy turning into a Thomas Jefferson-type 3rd President, even though on the surface he seems marginally different than his sponsor. It is well known that he’s a Putin sycophant who’ll act like a marionette doll more often than not. I suppose he and Putin will have an obligatory staged public moment of disagreement, but I’m starting to think that the Russian people would see right through the ploy.
Russia’s slide into a one-party democracy is nearly complete, as Putin solidified this concept during his second term. Yes, I suppose Russia can vote for the other guy, but I have a feeling that fear, lack of competition, poor organization, cynicism, and those pesky poisonings will put votes solidly behind
UPDATE: Medvedev officially wins.
Posted in Europe, Russia | Tagged: Dmitry Medvedev, one-party democracy, Vladimir Putin | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Ryan on February 23, 2008
By now, most have heard about the sectarian violence which ensued after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Some of that violence, pictured above, was directed at the United States embassy in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. America was of course outraged at the lack of security around our embassy and has protested through appropriate diplomatic channels. Serb response: we’ll get on that, but by the way it’s American’s fault!
But, coverage of this story differed slightly from news organization to news organization. The initial link is from FoxNews and was sourced from the Associated Press. This link is from CNN’s own reporters. The CNN story has a similar focus about Serbian responsibility and American discontent, yet it also has this curious excerpt which the AP’s version does not have:
“The wisdom of recognizing Kosovo independence has been questioned by many observers, who say the United States won’t recognize other unilateral declarations of independence. Some opponents of Kosovo’s independence say recognition is a bad precedent if it’s unilateral and not done in a bilateral, diplomatic setting. They say it will give others the incentive to stage their own breakaway nations.”
I have a problem with CNN’s inference that the US acted rashly in recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Turkey, Croatia, the EU, especially Germany, and Belgium, have recognized Kosovo and have also been victims of violence — we’re not the sole party bearing responsibility for Kosovo’s recognition (even Afghanistan has recognized Kosovo!) and Kosovo has a unique recent history of ethnic cleansing and discrimination by Serbs. So, by CNN’s logic are we to wait for Serbia’s OK before recognizing Kosovo’s independence? Is that the standard to which CNN is referring? If so, I’m sure the world would still be waiting for Britain’s OK to let go of their pesky American colonies.
Posted in Europe, Media Bias, Russia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Ryan on February 17, 2008
With the help of 16,000 NATO peacekeepers (of course), Kosovo officially declared its independence from Serbia! Good for them, and it’s about time!
Yet, Serbian nationalism is closely tied to Kosovo, for in June 1389, the Serbs were defeated by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Kosovo Polje. Up until that point, Kosovo was a region that served as the cultural center of the old Serbian Empire — the last great Serbian Empire. Kosovo was subsequently settled by Albanians, creating a tension between Muslims and Christians, as well as Serbs and Albanians that came to blows by 1989.
This means that the Serbs will not let this happen quietly and are already rejecting this claim. Russia is supporting the Serbs as well, which makes me feel that Europe and the USA should quickly recognize Kosovo’s independence then immediately ask them to apply to NATO — just to watch ol’ Pootie Poot’s conniption fit!
Ever since the former Yugoslavia began devolving into the slew of new states, mapping the Balkan States has been a trying endeavor. As a history teacher, it’s frustrating having to say “this map is outdated” every time we get brand new maps or books! So, I guess this means that the black marker is coming back out, having just traced Montenegro, to trace Kosovo on the big map!
Posted in Europe, Russia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Ryan on December 19, 2007
Vladimir Putin. Tsar Commissar General Secretary Vladimir Putin the Great/Terrible, Man of the Year. Seems to work for this power-hungry new version of an old Russian habit: autocratic rule through violence, intimidation, political assassinations, and saber-rattling. I’m disappointed. I honestly thought that Time would have chosen Algore for his global warming farce and anti-American rants at international conferences. No, just a real autocrat, not an aspiring global one.
Time likes to choose it’s “Person/People of the Year” the following way:
“TIME’s Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world—for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership—bold, earth-changing leadership.”
Not an honor (I guess not, they gave it to Bush in 2004). But it sure is an effective way to sell papers and peddle the influence of the people selected, inadvertently giving cultural legitimacy to them through the press and buzz.
My choice would have been to pick General David Petraeus for the amazing and positive change he helped inaugurate in Iraq since August. However, that may put Iraq in a more positive light and Time doesn’t want to give Republicans any help by giving press to a man who has done great things regarding an issue the Dems have been wrong about all year. Give Time some credit though: Petraeus was a runner-up, along with Communist Hu Jintao, author JK Rowling, and their true favorite, Algore. Credit, but not props.
Posted in Culture, Media Bias, Russia | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ryan on November 29, 2007
A very scary development out of Slovakia today: Slovak authorities indicated that two Hungarians and a Ukrainian were intercepted trying to sell their weapons-grade uranium powder to undercover investigators. Early indications are that the uranium was probably from Russia or some former Soviet state. It wasn’t enough material for a full-fledged nuke (this was only about a pound– you need 55 pounds for a small nuke). Yet, it is perfect for a highly effective “dirty bomb.” If you don’t know, a “dirty” bomb is a conventional explosive device that has radiological components which spread throughout the atmosphere upon explosion. It’ll only immediately destroy the truck or block, but the cloud will be deadly and disperse with the wind, spreading uncontrollably throughout the city or site. It is a weapon of mass destruction.
What really bothers me is whether or not this is the only instance of bomb-grade material left on the black market. It most definitely not. And, since there’s more of this stuff out there, where is it? Our port security can detect radioactive material, but what if they loaded it onto a truck in Mexico, or had some coyote smuggle it over the border? We know that this was not the first instance where uranium dealers were trying to smuggle their material out of the former Soviet Republics. The article outlines many instances over the last decade that should worry most people concerned about Homeland Security. This incident also demonstrates that despite the Dems best efforts to deflect the seriousness of the War on Terror or the Bush Administration’s failure to secure the borders or enforce nuclear protection treaties with Russia, the threat of dirty bombs and other WMDs is a clear and present danger to the United States.
Posted in Election 2008, Europe, Politics, Russia, War on Terror | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Ryan on June 25, 2007
Vladimir Putin is trying to whitewash Soviet History in a way reminiscent of the old Soviet propaganda newspaper, Pravda, which used clever language and bold-faced lies to advance the Bolshevik’s totalitarian agenda. As an historian, this kind of thing really bugs me and is often a harbinger of reactionary and revisionist politics, which Putin is steeped in lately.
Among the things Putin blabs about is how “bleak” American History looks when compared to the old Soviet Union! I laughed out loud! Twice!! The article notes, though, that he passively mentions Stalin and that Russia’s past is not perfect. That was nice of him. Yes, America is the only country (to date) who had nuked civilians (by the way Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both chosen because they were industrial sites). Yes, we dropped more TNT on Vietnam than in World War II. Yes, we also dropped tons of chemicals to defoilate those Southeast Asian jungles too. And I’ll even add America’s violent, genocidal history against the Amerindians led to the deaths of countless thousands over the course of 250 years.
But to equivocate the murder of 20-30 million internal political dissodents, innocents, and peasants though enciting famine and filling gulags for one’s own twisted ideology, all while actively trying to export this horrid ideology at the expense of human rights and the will of the people with anything America’s ever done is revisionist at best and ridiculous at its heart. I believe it was Stalin (not George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Ronald Reagan or even Dubya) that gave us the infamous quote: “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” I, too, would be weary of such a legacy if I were President of Russia– by the way, an office that would not have existed without the United States.
Link via Drudge. Pic from Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Posted in Russia | 2 Comments »
Posted by Ryan on May 19, 2007
Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing a lecture from Major General Oleg Kalugin, KGB (Retired) at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC through the American Institute for History Education (AIHE) grant through my school district. Not only was the International Spy Museum a really cool experience, but Oleg’s lecture was absolutely ground-shaking!
His credentials are numerous, as you can read in the link above, but in short, he was KGB since the 1950s, was Vladimir Putin’s boss, and was an insider against the KGB-hardliner coup of Gorbachev in 1991. This point is why Putin considers his old boss a traitor and had him convicted to 15 years in prison in absentia. Oleg applied for and received political asylum in the USA and is now a citizen (geez, they’ll give citizenship to anyone!). The picture below is of Oleg circling the tank that Yeltsin spoke from that fateful August day in 1991, while Yeltsin’s on the other side speaking out against the KGB coup:
It was an absolutely amazing experience, but these are some tidbits from my notes of his lecture that shocked me:
- By 1953 the Soviets had 327 spies in the US government, while we literally had 1 in Moscow!
- Oleg recruited American spies often and heavily from New York’s Columbia University while he was a journalism student there in the late 1950s!
- The Soviets tried to bad-mouth the USA in the propaganda war. The KGB started the false rumor in 1964 that the CIA helped to kill JFK, that the US military invented AIDS as a biological weapon, and that babies were being stolen by American parents in Latin America to use their body-parts for American children. All of which successfully harmed US relations at home with government distrust, in Africa and south of the border, respectively!
- The true kicker was his personal exposure to documents, witnesses and KGB spies which stated that Enrico Fermi, Niels Bohr, and Klaus Fuchs were all Manhattan Project physicists that passed nuclear information to the Soviets. So did the Rosenbergs– without any doubt despite how some in America like to wash it over!
- Also, the biggest bombshell was Oleg’s reports that J. Robert Oppenheimer himself, lead director of the Manhattan Project, was consciously and willingly passing nuclear secrets to the Soviets during World War II– way more intel than any other source they had inside, including the Rosenbergs, whose contribution was minimal when compared to Oppenheimer’s leaks.
Truly an amazing experience. By the way, he really doesn’t like Putin–with good reason!
First pic from Wikipedia, taken by Cindy Kwitkoff in 2005. Second pic from CI Centre.
Posted in Russia | 2 Comments »
Posted by Ryan on May 10, 2007
Everyone’s favorite ex-KGB goon Vladimir Putin had a unique take on the USA and NATO at a speech commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the end of World War II on May 8: America and NATO’s foreign policy is like that of the Third Reich! Now he didn’t just come out and say that so bluntly, but in a nuanced way he inferred that the US and NATO are the new threat because of our “unipolar” worldview, while he pines over the good ol’ days of Cold War “balance!” Forget the true threat of international Islamo-fascist terrorism! At least Bush’s political opponents don’t end up poisoned or dead! The speech ignored that the Soviet Union was wrong on the whole human-rights and economic reality thing for roughly 70 years. Of course he would never say that, but knocking the West for being Nazi-like, while Stalin himself had an alliance with Hitler to seize parts of Poland, seems a little two-faced. We’ve never had a totalitarian government here, Vlad. Even FDR wouldn’t ally with Hitler (Joe Kennedy, on the other hand, thought fascism had potential)!
Maybe it’s not really all about that. Perhaps Putin is throwing small, anti-American/NATO tantrums because he feels his country is too big, and getting too rich from oil to be treated like the Cold War also-ran that they are. The speech was obviously a part of Putin’s domestic political agenda and a pro-Russian holiday pep rally, but getting along with people is more likely to increase your pull in their affairs, rather than threatening a new Cold War in virtually every major speech you give!
Posted in Russia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Mike on April 23, 2007
Boris Yeltsin, the first President of post-Soviet Russia, died today at the age of 76. Known to many as the father of Russian democracy, Yeltsin is best remembered for his bold and courageous leadership against hard line Communists during a coup attempt while the Soviet Union was on the threshold of that ash heap Ronald Reagan spoke of.
As the first President of a democratic Russia, Yeltsin faced a difficult task. With its long tradition of tsars and Communist dictators, democracy was a foreign concept to Russia when Yeltsin assumed power. At times, Yeltsin used heavy-handed tactics to accomplish what he thought was necessary to preserve his country’s new democracy. He did indeed centralize power, but ultimately allowed free and fair elections, including one in 1996 where the outcome was far from certain. Boris Yeltsin helped change the face of Russia and the world is better off for it.
Yeltsin will be remembered as a giant in Russian history. May he rest in peace.
Posted in Politics, Russia | 1 Comment »
Posted by Mike on April 22, 2007
It has often been said that a new democracy’s first true test occurs when its second leader is in power. A democracy’s first leader is usually more of a consensus figure genuinely committed to the ideals of the new system. This dynamic now appears to be playing out in Russia, and it doesn’t seem to be going too well.
According to the New York Slimes:
At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”
In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.
As a general rule, I don’t take the Slimes at face value; however, The Washington Times also ran this story so it’s probably legit.
Despite this latest in a long line of troubling signs, our own experiences show that all is not lost in Russia. John Adams pushed similar restrictions against political dissent but nevertheless passed the second leader test by peacefully relinquishing power when it was time to do so. Despite all of the flaws with Russian democracy, and there are many, Vladimir Putin has repeatedly promised to step down when his term expires. If Putin keeps his word, he would pass the second leader test, just as President Adams did 207 years ago.
Assuming Putin keeps his word, the process of electing a third Russian President will probably be tainted by Putin’s media restrictions. This major flaw notwithstanding, the winner of that election will have the opportunity and the moment of truth to revive the right to dissent. If that happens, the U.S. would have a democracy to deal with, lessening the possibility of a new Cold War.
Posted in Politics, Russia | 1 Comment »