Eternal Russia: Moving Back to the One-Party System

Vladimir Putin in KGB uniformVladimir Putin in KGB uniform Image via Wikipedia
Recent elections in Siberia gave us a depressing glimpse into what is really happening in Russia. I watched the video on the 10 Decembre New York Times and saw the eyes of the candidate of the opposition party, A Just Russia, fill with tears as she watched the fake returns handing the election over to Mr. Putin's party United Russia. Because there's little doubt the elections were rigged through and through. In Haiti and the Ivory Coast, people take to the street when they suspect foul play, but not in Russia. No, the whole country cowers in front of Mr. Putin and his accolytes. Nobody dares to walk the streets in protest. Not a car nor a garbage can is ever set on fire in a Russian town!

Back to square one.

Twenty years ago, it looked for a short while like Russia was at last going to turn democratic. Fat chance! That democratic season was a short one and Mr. Eltsin drank himself into impotance. Not so Mr. Putin: here is somebody who never drinks, who's always in total control. And that should come as no surprise:  we all know that Mr. Putin is an ex-KGB agent and that he's brought along all his buddies into the government. And we all know that Mr. Medvedev is not even Mr. Putin's alter ego. He is a puppet President, keeping the seat warm for Mr. Putin's return.

Corruption that has been rampant for a long time is now on the rise. The FSB, successor to the KGB, is terrifying everybody, yet it is unable to ensure safety for the average Russian citizen: remember the massacre at the Beslan school in 2004 when over 334 civilians were killed, of which more than half were children? Where was the FSB then? How come they didn't see it coming? If you think I'm exaggerating, take a look at the excellent analysis of a couple of Russian journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, who happened to be Anna Politkovskaya's friend: their book, published in English, is called "The New Nobility: the Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB". I have attached below an illuminating review of the book by Oliver Bullough who was until recently a Reuters Moscow correspondent. 

Mr. Putin is poised to reap yet more glory and power now that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup. And to think this is the man who has the gall to accuse the West for "unfairly" jailing the Wikileaks patron for alledged sexual misconduct.  "Why did they jail Mr. Assange? Is that democracy?" said Mr. Putin at a news conference on 9 Decembre. "You know what our villagers say: while someone's cow is mooing, yours better be silent." Apparently that is the equivalent Russian expression for the pot calling the kettle black.

Now who's the pot and who's the kettle? Mmmmm....

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