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 I wasn't asking you.  I was telling you how Russians feel about democracy after having it forced down their throats.  If you were in Russia during the transition period and saw what "your blessing for the people" did, you would not make such a statement.

If you engage in a debate prepared to be answered.  It is not democracy that made the Russian peoples lives miserable; it was the mindless privatizations of the leaders in charge i.e. the Yeltsin regime and his good friends the oligarchs.

The problem is that much of the blame for the miserable state of affairs have been put on Gorbatchev because of his Glasnost and Perestroika policy, when in fact the one responsible for the libertarian privatization was Yeltsin.  

In my opinion there is a slight difference between Putin and Lukashenka.  First of all the jailing of political opponents, while common enough now in Belarus and the countries of Central Asia, has not become accepted practice in Russia; for the most part, the Kremlin's intolerance of public critics has been limited to verbal threats.  The Yukos case and its repercussions are of course questionable, but then again most of the oligarchs acquiring of wealth have been at best irregular and suspicious.  

What is puzzling though is that Putin doesn't seem to be consequent in his investigations and legal scrutiny  of the oligarchs financial dispositions, which basically means that only those that challenges his political position seems to be investigated and jailed, see Abramovitch.  Still, it is a cynical fact that political stability is much more important and needed in a Nuclear Power State like Russia than it is in other States and thus has to get priority before extensive and uncontrollable reforms.  Even so I have to admit that for instance Putin's abolishing of direct gubernatorial elections and switching to a system of Presidential appointments of governors and his tight control of the media have been two major setbacks to the democratic reforms in the country.  

After all it ought to be possible to start a process of democratic reforms gradually while at the same time being able to uphold law and order.  This has been done in the former eastern-block countries and ought to be possible in Russia even if it means reforms at a slower pace.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Thu Mar 23rd, 2006 at 08:58:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

If you engage in a debate prepared to be answered.  It is not democracy that made the Russian peoples lives miserable; it was the mindless privatizations of the leaders in charge i.e. the Yeltsin regime and his good friends the oligarchs.

I'm not "debating" you.  Were you in Russia during the transition period?  Did you see it firsthand?  Let me assure you it is quite different seeing the mass suffering in person, rather than reading about it in your morning paper while sitting in your nice safe apartment/house with a full stomache and no one shooting at you and your kids every day.

Anyway, my argument is not that democracy per se caused the problems.  I'm saying that Russians perceive it to have caused them by association with free market "reforms" and privatization.

Gorbachev is no saint.  He knew what the consequences of perestroika would be, yet he took no steps to ensure a modicum of stability during the transition.

You should really do some research before making statements like this one:


Even so I have to admit that for instance Putin's abolishing of direct gubernatorial elections and switching to a system of Presidential appointments of governors and his tight control of the media have been two major setbacks to the democratic reforms in the country.

Do you know why Putin started appointing governors?  Because the mafia (sometimes the actual one, sometimes the local political one - and often these are both one and the same) was "electing" their candidate every time.  The people had no say in the matter.  Voters, however, have elected Putin - twice - and have confidence in his judgment.  Who would you rather have as your governor - a local oligarch strongman or an apparatchik loyal to Putin?  Neither choice is ideal, but I would choose the apparatchik every time in those circumstances.  That's why you don't hear any complaining from Russians about Putin's decision.

The same is true of the media.  Oligarchs were using their stations as private mouthpieces to settle scores and to get themselves elected by saturation coverage of their campaigns (but not allowing rivals any airtime at all).  How democratic is that?

This statement leads me to believe you "get" it:


After all it ought to be possible to start a process of democratic reforms gradually while at the same time being able to uphold law and order.  This has been done in the former eastern-block countries and ought to be possible in Russia even if it means reforms at a slower pace.

This is EXACTLY what Russia is doing!

So why, then, do you buy into the western noisemachine that is trying to paint Russia as "backsliding away from democracy", "with un-democratic tendencies"?

by slaboymni on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 06:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not "debating" you.

Yes, you are.  You started of by commenting my comment and that is fair enough, after all that is why we are here to exchange views.  

You should really do some research before making statements like this one:

After all it ought to be possible to start a process of democratic reforms gradually while at the same time being able to uphold law and order.  This has been done in the former eastern-block countries and ought to be possible in Russia even if it means reforms at a slower pace.
I did, the statement is from the Washington Post and it is perfectly in order.  Putin has to be able to take criticism like everyone else after all he is the leader of a big and powerful country.  

You don't need to abolish the right to election in order to get to the mafia you just have to beef up the justice system by employing more lawyers and introduce legislation that secures transparency.  One possibility is to set up a directorate that audits and control the regions and their economical and political system and introduce criteria's that ensures the candidates elect ability like no double income, to business interests while in office, no favouring of business contracts and the likes.  There is no guarantee at all that the appointments will not include mafia people as you are well aware of the Soviet apparatchik and the business mafia are very much infiltrated and often feed off each other.  

There was, in my view, no need to tighten the control on the media either, he could have started an investigation, which he did, into the business dealings of the oligarchs and used anti-trust legislation to split the media conglomerate thus ensuring that there no domination of the media sector by a few powerful people that is perfectly legal and are being done when needed in most democratic countries, see the split of the Standard oil company in the US.

This statement leads me to believe you "get" it:

In case you haven't noticed, I understand the process in Russia quite well thank you and that is why I can debate you on this issue.  We are just not in total agreement over the democratic process going on in Russia.  

What is worth noting though is that some people tend to get all emotional when their country is debated.  I can understand that if it had been slander and done in an abusive language but when it's done rationally and in a civil manner I shouldn't be to hard engaging in a debate based on facts and rational opinions.

As I have said before it is perfectly possible to continue the process of democratic reform and at the same time uphold law and order.  In stead of shutting down democratic processes Putin could and indeed should use the legislation more because this is plausible and needed, but within the framework of the constitution and according to rule of law and not according to personal preferences.  

I do think that Russia have to change gradually while at the same time not roll back the democratic process.    

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 07:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ни ты, ни один другой человек здесь - кроме blackhawk  не понимает условия в России.

Бесполезно с вами разговаривать.

Прощай.

by slaboymni on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 08:43:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you please translate your comment so that some of us here who do not understand Russian can read it.

Thank you in advance.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--

by tzt (tzt) on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 08:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something about Blackhawk actually living in Russia?

This comment is provided as is, with no warranties, expressed or implied, as to its correctness, or suitability for any particular purpose, yadda, yadda.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 08:56:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It says something like:  Neither you nor any other person here - except blackhawk - understands conditions in Russia.  It is useless to talk with you.  Good-bye.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 09:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, what's useless is talking to someone who insults anyone who disagrees with him and who claims that his own point of view is the only possibly valid one.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 08:55:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not "debating" you.  Were you in Russia during the transition period?  Did you see it firsthand?  Let me assure you it is quite different seeing the mass suffering in person, rather than reading about it in your morning paper while sitting in your nice safe apartment/house with a full stomache and no one shooting at you and your kids every day.

That's a tremendously patronizing attitude.  So only people who are actually present during a transition have the right to opinions about it?  That would appear to invalidate your opinions about the current situation in Belarus, since you've said you're in America right now.  

That would also mean that I am the only person on this site (that I know of) who would get to have an opinion about Iraq.

And that is ridiculous.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Mar 24th, 2006 at 07:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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