March 24, 2007

Tsar Vlad I

Vladimir Putin has managed to push Russia back into a virtual single-party state, and he has the assistance of the Russian judiciary for that goal. Yesterday, the Russian Supreme Court denied one of the few opposition parties left in Russia access to the ballot, which means that the next Duma will likely have no opposition representation at all (via Michael van der Galien at TMV):

Russia's next parliament is likely to have no genuine opposition after a court in Moscow yesterday banned a leading liberal party from standing in elections.

Russia's supreme court announced that it had liquidated the small Republican party, claiming that it had violated electoral law by having too few members. The party is one of very few left in Russia that criticises President Vladimir Putin.

The move against Russia's opposition came as pro-democracy activists prepared for the latest in a series of anti-government rallies that have infuriated Russia's hardline authorities.

This judgment came after the Duma imposed a new law which forbade political parties from fielding candidates if they did not have at least 50,000 members and have representation in at least half of all Russian provinces. The Kremlin insists that they wrote the law to eliminate the fractured nature of politics in Russia, but it rather obviously keeps new political parties from forming -- parties that would get inspired by Vladimir Putin's authoritarian behavior, for instance.

With no opposition left in the Duma, it is not hard to imagine what Putin will do next. He will ask for, and receive, the removal of restrictions that keep him from running for another term of office. Putin will make himself president-for-life and continue eliminating the regional power structures that had acted as a check on federal power.

The opposition parties will start gathering to protest the elimination of the Republican Party, one of the original glasnost parties that formed under Mikhail Gorbachev. Also joining them will be Gary Kasparov's United Civil Front and the National Bolshevik Front, which also got disqualified by the Russian judiciary. Today they will rally in Russia's fourth-largest city, Nizhny Novgorod, where the mayor plans to block them by holding a "children's festival" at their desired rally point. The mayor also has blocked roads to carry out suddenly urgent street repairs.

Russian democracy is disappearing before our eyes. It will not be long now before Putin has recreated the Soviet government that he served for so long, within smaller borders. After a season of freedom, political winter once again descends on Russia, and the spring may be long in coming.


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» Freedom Suffers Another Setback In Russia from The Liberty Papers
The Soviet Union officially died in 1991, but Russia’s road toward freedom has always been a difficult one, and things became even more difficult when Boris Yeltsin was followed as President by former KGB officer Vladimir Putin. In the seven year... [Read More]

Comments (3)

Posted by smagar [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:49 AM

Very sad to hear. But, if the old "Soviet Union" returns, then at least that makes duty in EUCOM more interesting!

And, most important of all, the Soviet Union has been shorn of its, Warsaw Pact, states.

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:15 AM

And good ole Imperial Russia (doesn't matter if there's a Tsar or Communist Party chief or President, it is all the same) is also shorn of its breadbasket in Ukraine (that will bear watching, is Russia going to try and reclaim its former states), plus the Baltic states are free.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 4:24 PM

Indeed rbj, Imperial Russia returns - sans Tsar!

Once again, the little states of Eastern Europe are anxiously looking over their shoulders as the Great Bear in the East shakes off his slumbers and re-emerges from his recent hibernation. Where can they turn for help to maintain their newly won independence and freedom? Western Europe? Surely you jest! America? Your kidding, right?

The answer is once again, nowhere! And the real tragedy here is not that the twenties and thirties are going to be replayed again and the same sad results revisited, but its that now fewer and fewer of the West's power elites even believe that freedom is worth fighting over at all. There really isn't anything on the table that they value.

So once again, the little states of Eastern Europe are going disappear into the ruthless maw of "Mother Russia" and we will all stand sadly by while they scream out their last desperate cries for help, and lament to each other "Wasn't it all so sad?" while we order up another latte.