It has long been assumed that President Vladimir Putin, whose term of office expires next March, would prefer to remain in power. But how he might try to do so while operating within the terms of Russia's constitution has been a source of endless speculation. On Monday, Putin provided what may be the answer, when he announced that he would head the list of the ruling United Russia (UR) party in December's election to the Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament.
From his position in Parliament (and his party is expected to win by a landslide) Putin will most likely get himself appointed Prime Minister. Also, he'll choose a Presidential candidate who will accept a subordinate position and take his orders from Putin.
Some might think that this is democracy and democracy is good. Um, well, since Russia's voters can't watch independent TV news shows and since large chunks of the print media are also under control of Putin's allies it is not like the voters can know much about what is really going on or why they might want to vote for an opponent of Putin. Plus, simple majorities are not imbued with great wisdom and America's Founding Fathers make special provisions in the design of the US constitution to try to at least partially compensate for that fact. Democratic dictatorship is a real phenomenon. It is a bigger problem in societies such as in Russia where the majority doesn't feel strong support for a free society. Also, the Russians aren't big on what is called social capital. They don't form lots of independent organizations that serve as checks on government.
What I want to know: When Russian oil production starts declining at a moderately rapid rate, energy costs rise for keeping warm in those cold Russian winters, and living standards drop what will the Russian people think of their elected dictatorship and what, if anything, will they do in response?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 October 02 06:10 PM Russia|