View Thread : Russian Democracy


A Black Falcon
Oxymoron at work... these top two are just about the latest incident.

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/08/russia.election.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/09/russia.rybkin/index.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/05/russia.yukos.sentence/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/26/russia.magnate.1315/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/30/yukos.prosecutors1525/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/11/04/us.yukos/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/28/cnna.russia/index.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/01/26/russia.powell/index.html

Putin is ... not exactly the most democratic ruler around?

Oh, and did I mention that he has no real opposition for the upcoming election?

His party won the last parliamentary (Duma) election, too... perfectly shocking considering he controls all the major media outlets and they put his party in a very good light...

I'm not saying Putin had something to do with this, it easily could have been the Mafia, but either way Russian democracy is not in good shape at all.

N-Man
I thought you'd like it, he's beating on the big corporate bosses.

The last event wasn't Putin's doing, he doesn't need the Liberals' measly 1% to win the next elections. At any rate, his democracy sure as hell is doing better than Yeltsin's.

A Black Falcon
Beating on corporate bosses? You mean putting the head of Yukos in jail? No, that's not what that is. That is putting a major political rival in prison for things that, while he is probably guilty of, everyone in his group did during that period for the sole purpose of removing a major threat to Putin's stranglehold on the Russian media...

N-Man
Most everyone in Russia wants the oligarchs (like Yukos) out. That does have the "odd side effect" of concentrating lots of power in Putin's hands, but he's still executing the will of the people whether we like it or not.

A Black Falcon
"Side effect"? Are you nuts? That IS the effect! The side effect is getting rid of an oligarch... note how none of the oligarchs who are on Putin's side politically get in trouble, only this one who dared to oppose him!

N-Man
Yes, that was sarcasm. The fact is he's still winning the elections, legally, 'cause what he's doing is the will of the electors. Doesn't get much more democratic than that. I'll agree he has to be watched (what Russian leader doesn't?), but up to now what he's done is mostly good for the nation.

A Black Falcon
Umm... true, he isn't rigging the elections in the ballot box. He doesn't have to. All he has to do is what he is doing now -- keep his national media monopoly. When all the national networks are proclaiming how great Putin and his party is, and the only voices of dissent are small and powerless, of course he's going to win...

A Black Falcon
NYT op-ed piece... right-wing guy but its good. :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/09/opinion/09SAFI.html

OP-ED COLUMNIST
Putin's 'Creeping Coup'
By WILLIAM SAFIRE

Published: February 9, 2022

UNICH This city is no longer the venue of appeasement.

At an annual security conference here on the eve of NATO's seven-state expansion, Moscow's neo-imperialist defense minister threatened to back out of an agreement limiting the size of his armed forces on Russia's European front.

Sergei Ivanov's bluff was immediately called by U.S. Senator John McCain. The Arizonan had accused Putin's regime of a "creeping coup" against democracy within Russia, as well as a campaign to intimidate and reassert control over states from the Baltics to Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine that our victory in the cold war had liberated from Soviet rule.

This Russia-NATO confrontation has been brewing for a year. While France and Germany split with the rest of Europe and the U.S. over the war in Iraq, Putin took advantage of the world's distraction to crack down on internal dissent and to undermine the independence of his neighbors.

The first public inkling of U.S. concern with Putin's irredentism came in Secretary Colin Powell's trip last month to attend the inauguration of Georgia's new elected leader, signaling strong support for that nation's independence. This was accompanied by a Powell article in Izvestia uncommonly critical of Moscow's repression of the media.

Western reaction to Russia's new aggressiveness was further expressed last week in Riga, Latvia. The Baltics' surge toward independence in 1989 was the first sign of the impending crack-up of the Soviet Union. The West's coming inclusion of those three states in NATO redresses a horrific Hitler-Stalin wrong, but is galling to Moscow, which has been fostering resentment among Russian ethnics implanted there since Stalin's time.

In Latvia's capital, the Baltic states gathered with Scandinavian nations to focus European human-rights attention on internal democratic opposition to outright tyrants like Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and the former K.G.B. crowd that runs Moldova. Though Ukraine gave up its nukes and has 1,700 troops in Iraq, it has an autocratic ruler in Leonid Kuchma, reportedly rigging its fall elections. McCain led a Congressional delegation to this Riga meeting on his way to Munich and heard the anguished story of a dissident Belarus leader whose husband is one of the "disappeared."

At the 40th Wehrkunde Conference in Munich, Ivanov unloaded on the West. The pressure point he chose was the Conventional Forces in Europe (C.F.E.) treaty, negotiated a decade ago, initialed but never signed. In 1996, as NATO prepared to admit Eastern Europe, it set up a formal relationship with Russia, assuring it that no nukes and no "substantial combat forces" would be placed close to its border. Three years later, Russia made the "Istanbul commitments" to pull its troops out of Georgia and Moldova, which it still has not done.

"We assumed those commitments in a definite military and political environment," Ivanov warned, "with the admission of the invitees to NATO, this environment will drastically change." Of the C.F.E. treaty, he asked: "Might it be another `relic of the cold war,' as the ABM treaty has been labeled some time ago" before it was "shelved to the dustbin"? He made Putin's threat plainer: "The adapted C.F.E. treaty may well end up as the ABM treaty was fated to."

Looking hard at McCain, Ivanov said, "One of the major priorities of the Russian foreign policy is our relationship with our closest neighbors . . . relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States are in no way a hallmark of Russian-brand `neo-imperialism,' as some try to depict it, but an imperative for security. . . ."

McCain is no Neville Chamberlain. "Under President Putin," he responded, "Russia has refused to comply with the terms of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Russian troops occupy parts of Georgia and Moldova . . . Russian agents are working to bring Ukraine further into Moscow's orbit. Russian support sustains Europe's last dictatorship in Belarus. And Moscow has . . . enforced its stranglehold on energy supplies into Latvia in order to squeeze the democratic government in Riga."

Speaking with the freedom of a senator, McCain said "undemocratic behavior and threats to the sovereignty and liberty of her neighbors will not profit Russia . . . but will exclude her from the company of Western democracies."

As its role becomes global, NATO must not lose its original purpose: to contain the Russian bear.

N-Man
Well, what else do you want? The previous situation had the oligarchs owning those media outlets and promoting their own parties which a) promoted the oligarchs' interests and besides were b) corrupt and involved in all sorts of wacky schemes. Now, instead, they promote the party line. What's the better alternative? It's not like those media outlets were giving every party equal air time or dedication, or were promoting parties with any kind of integrity whatsoever. The "voices of dissent" have always been squashed in Russia; before it was by industrialists with ties to the mob, now it's by a guy that seems vaguely interested in the rule of the law.

You know, I'm all for wild and uninhibited capitalism, but Russian business is rotten to the core. The entire country's a grey zone of semi-legal practices. It needs a serious clean-up to stop wallowing in both legal and economic mediocrity, and Putin looks like he might be the man to do that... or at least start the job.

Great Rumbler
Cold War II?

N-Man
You've got to be kidding. That's a load of paranoid bull. Yes, Putin is interested in keeping the Russian sphere of influence active. No, he's not "threatening the sovereignty" of his democratic neighbors.

A Black Falcon
If you think that you are not paying much attention to Eastern European politics. Well Cold War II isn't realistic but a Russia united by a man who controls the country with no dissent allowed, trying to make itsself important on the world stage again (though right now it has a shattered, destroyed economy) even if that leads to conflict with our ideals (not war or anything, but trouble)? That is where we are heading. McCain has the right of it.

Oh, and you're saying that Russia is better off in the hands of ex-KGB than it is in the hands of dissenting rich people... yes, Russia is badly rotten and full of corruption, the Mafia is immensely strong, etc... but a effective dictator who allows no real dissent (say something bad and being in a position of strength and you'll find yourself in jail like the ex Yukos head does) is no better!

It's not just about if each channel toes a party line. It's about all of them. Sure most channels will have a side but at least before this you had a couple of networks that didn't say Putin is great Putin is great Putin is great all day. Now that's gone, and all channels paw party line... are we much better off when the Soviets were in control?

alien space marine
Russia isnt use to having a choice , They have had dictators for centuries and the Russian public prefers a strong boss then a fragial democracy.

A Black Falcon
Plenty of countries hadn't been used to having a choice before they had democracy but it worked in some of them... we'll just have to hope that eventually they get more democratic I guess, I don't see any hope for Russia to be much of a democracy now... but what that means for our relations with them and for their ambitions as a power, we'll have to see.

alien space marine
Russia has alot of problems with crime namely the mafia, Putin would have to stomp them out.

A Black Falcon
How odd...

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/10/international/europe/10CND-RUSS.html

Missing Russian Candidate Is Found Alive
By STEVEN LEE MYERS

Published: February 10, 2022

OSCOW, Feb. 10 Just as bizarrely as he disappeared on Thursday, a Russian presidential candidate reappeared today alive, well rested and confused about the furor.

"I decided last week to take a break from all the bustle around me," Ivan P. Rybkin told Interfax from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, by way of explaining his disappearance, which terrified his family and his campaign aides and prompted a police manhunt for his whereabouts.

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Mr. Rybkin, a former speaker of parliament who is challenging President Vladimir V. Putin in an election now barely a month away, managed to roil, if briefly and now farcically, a race whose outcome is universally considered a foregone conclusion.

Mr. Rybkin, 57, left his apartment on Thursday evening, after dismissing his bodyguards, and took a train to Kiev, he said in interviews with Russian news agencies.

Evidently he informed neither his wife nor his campaign aides, who grew increasingly alarmed when he failed to appear at a press conference last Friday and failed to surface when election officials registered his candidacy a day later. On Sunday, the police opened an official search for Mr. Rybkin.

Mr. Rybkin was flying back to Moscow this evening.

Mr. Rybkin's initial explanations for his five-day absence did little to clear up the mystery of his sudden departure, just as his Quixotic campaign against Mr. Putin should have been beginning.

His disappearance raised fears that something untoward had happened to him, prompting speculation that he had been a victim of politically motivated violence. In the days before he left, he openly criticized Mr. Putin for cultivating close ties with business tycoons and eroding democratic freedoms in Russia.

Kseniya Y. Ponomaryova, Mr. Rybkin's campaign chairman, said in an interview tonight that she had spoken with Mr. Rybkin by telephone from Kiev. He explained that he was staying with friends. He had shut off his mobile telephone and ignored television, radio and newspapers, which were increasingly full of reports about the police search for him.

"Can't a person take some rest?" she said he told her.

Mr. Rybkin was never going to defeat Mr. Putin, but Ms. Ponomaryova said that his actions had done "a lot of harm" to his campaign and his credibility. She later told Interfax that while she was pleased that we was safe, she did not expect to continue to work for his campaign.

Yes, people, this is the kind of opponents Putin has...

Great Rumbler
Wow.

A Black Falcon
Crazy, isn't it?

Great Rumbler
Maybe he should TELL people he's going on vacation next time.

Ryan
BRAINWASHED

A Black Falcon
Yeah... he sounds a bit ... excentric...

Ryan
Yeah... I bet if anyone in America ever did this....




...it would be Howard Dean!

A Black Falcon
Bush would, he'd forget he had to be somewhere... :)

Great Rumbler
Dean would yell out to everyone where he was going.

Dean: I'M GOING TO MAUI!!!

A Black Falcon
And Bush would be like a five year old... wandering off and looking at the shiny thing over there...

Great Rumbler
Shiny things are cool though...

A Black Falcon
But at least Bush has to be elected... well, sort of... if he manipulates the system enough...

Darunia
Russian Democracy. Hah. We all know they're still secretly operating under communism. It was in the Simpsons.

A Black Falcon
As I said, it was meant as an oxymoron... you know, like "Military Intelligence"... :)

A Black Falcon
Hmm...

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/11/russia.rybkin/index.html

A Black Falcon
Explanation number three!

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/international/europe/13CND-RUSS.html?hp
Resurfaced Russian Candidate Offers Account of Lost Days
By STEVEN LEE MYERS

Published: February 13, 2022

OSCOW, Feb. 13 Ivan P. Rybkin, the Russian presidential candidate who disappeared for five days before resurfacing in Ukraine this week, appeared in London today and offered yet another explanation for his bizarre absence, saying he had been drugged and kidnapped.

None of Mr. Rybkin's remarks could be corroborated, and his new version contradicted statements he made after returning to Moscow late Tuesday and in a rambling radio interview the next day.

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Mr. Rybkin said at a news conference today that he had been lured to Ukraine's capital, Kiev, on the pretense of meeting with Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen separatist leader who is one of Russia's most wanted men.

Mr. Rybkin, who served as a security adviser to Boris N. Yeltsin, was involved in the peace talks that ended the first Chechen war in 1996 and has remained an advocate of talks to end the second war, which began in 1999.

He said that after arriving at an apartment in Kiev, he felt drowsy after having sandwiches and tea and then fell unconscious for what turned out to be four days. When he awoke, he said, two armed men showed him a compromising videotape of himself, which he refused to describe except to say that it was meant to intimidate him into silence.

Mr. Rybkin suggested that his kidnapping was an effort to discredit liberal challengers to President Vladimir V. Putin before the presidential election on March 14.

"I do not know who did it, but I know who have benefited from it," he said, according to the official Itar-Tass news agency.

Mr. Rybkin left Moscow by train on Feb. 5, prompting his wife and campaign aides to report his disappearance to the police, who then began a search. He surfaced on Feb. 10, calling his campaign manager to say he had gone to Kiev to relax.

He said that he would not return to Moscow before the election, but would continue to run from London.

"My absence from Russia will tell the Russian voters and Western governments 100 times more than my presence," he said in a statement before the news conference today. "After what happened in Kiev, I am convinced that this election is a game without rules."

Ryan
Wow! This guy just might be crazier than Deaniac! It is possible!

A Black Falcon
He certainly seems quite nuts... three explanations within days for a weeklong dissapearance?

So... which is it?

A) A weeklong vacation
B) Hiding from assassins
C) Kidnappers who threatened and released him
D) Something else