Saturday, March 24, 2007

The state of Russian Democracy

BBC News - Russian opposition demo quashed
Russian riot police have arrested dozens of demonstrators who staged an anti-government rally in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on Saturday.

Protesters were dragged into waiting police vans and driven away.

The marchers were defying a ban on protests to demonstrate against what they see as attempts by President Vladimir Putin to stifle democracy.
It appears that Russian democracy continues to suffer under the rule of President Putin (for earlier evidence see here). Far be it from me to defend Putin or Russian democracy, but it certainly could be worse. Arresting protesters happens in the most consolidated of democracies. It is also significant to note that the people are willing to hold such protests, something that would not have been too likely two decades ago. The fact that the protesters were arrested and taken away in vans is a far cry from being ran over by tanks. There are certainly problems, and Russia may be headed in the wrong direction, I don't know, but I wouldn't count the Russian people out just yet.

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