Letters to the Editor: March 2008

To the Editor,

The current election for the Russian president is hard to call an election, since in reality there was no one to choose between. Majority of the population does not support either Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the explosive leader of Liberal-Democratic Party, nor the immutable Communist party standard bearer Gennady Zuganov. Nevertheless, the presidential election of March 2008 can be considered unprecedented, since it showed that in today’s world, an authoritarian regime can use democracy for its own ends, especially if democracy is not seen as a cornerstone of the society and serves as just one of the regime many instruments.

To preserve the political system established during the last eight years, Putin has chosen Dmitry Medvedev, the most insipid person possible as his successor, the youngest (42 years) in the administration and thus the most obedient one. During last two months, Putin has transformed Medvedev into one of the most popular politicians in the country.

Such a successful political trick certainly makes Putin an outstanding leader, although, he can not be seen as a democratic one. Putin can thus keep his personal power and still be considered an advocate of democracy by the West. Unfortunately, he is sure that he has achieved both goals. Since there is no appropriately firm answer from the West on the official level, he honestly thinks that it’s all just fine.

 

Vladimir Nosenko

Retired Russian Diplomat

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