Monday, March 12, 2007

"Managed Democracy"?

Just when I think that all the possible euphemisms that could be created have been, someone proves me quite mistaken. In this case, I'm referring to Putin's Russia - a state that is ostensibly democratic (e.g. they have elections at least), but the elections are, well, constrained it seems.

With the Kremlin maintaining tight control over the media, and disqualifying parties that it finds "troubling" on the basis of technicalities this sounds less like democracy and more like revised dictatorship - wrapped in a cloak of respectability.

The BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says the overall result was to halve the number of political parties registered in Russia and to destroy any possibility of the smaller, liberal opposition parties having their candidates elected.

The Russian government says it wanted to create a more efficient system based on two or three parties.

"More efficient" - well that's the first clue that this isn't democracy. The last thing that one can ever accuse democratic government of being is "efficient" - even when there are only a handful of parties.

I think what I find most intriguing here is the fact that we are hearing little from Washington about this - it seems that "regime change" in Iran is a more important euphemism to him these days. I wonder what will happen when the US realizes that Russia has significant oil reserves hiding beneath the steppes?

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