Does the President support democracy in Russia?

Now that George W. Bush has expressed his support for democracy in the Middle East, can we expect some indication of concern on his part about the evident intention of his friend Pooty-Poot to put an end to it in Russia?

No one expects Putin to allow serious opposition to himself in the coming elections. It appears that the old Soviet dictatorship, a Party dictatorship with the Army and the KGB in supporting roles, is to be replaced by a KGB dictatorship with the tame oligarchs in supporting roles.

Whether Russia is ready for democracy is, of course, a different question. This item from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty suggests reason for doubt on that score.

A PLURALITY OF RUSSIANS WOULD BACK THE BOLSHEVIKS

A recent poll conducted by VTsIOM-A found that 23 percent of respondents said that if the Bolshevik revolution were to happen again today, they would actively support the Bolsheviks, while 19 percent said they would “cooperate with them in some way,” Interfax reported on 5 November. Twenty-seven percent said they would wait things out and not get involved, while 16 percent said they would leave the country, and 10 percent said they would fight the Bolsheviks. According to VTsIOM-A, KPRF supporters generally said they would back the Bolsheviks, while Unified Russia supporters tended to say they would wait it out and not get involved, SPS supporters tended to say they would emigrate, and Yabloko supporters tended to say they would fight the Bolsheviks. Asked what the Bolshevik revolution had brought the Russian people, 32 percent mentioned socioeconomic development, 19 percent said “a new era in Russian history,” 20 percent said it had frozen Russia’s development, 13 percent said it was a catastrophe for the Russian people, and 16 percent said they were not sure. JB

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “Does the President support democracy in Russia?”

  1. Democracy in Russia

    Mark Kleiman is right: Russian "democracy" is hardly healthy. He is further correct that Bush is unlikely to say much about it. While I support the President's goal of democracy in the Middle East, the Russian example (and others could…

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