Democracy in danger
27th May 2010
The Russian case is not simply about self-interest and materialism. The Yeltsin-era chaos led to some disillusionment with the capitalist approach, but not necessarily with democracy itself. Total turnout in the 2007 Duma elections was over 63 per cent, similar to the voter turnout in Britain in the recent general election, while more than 73m voted in the 2008 Russian presidential election. And while people may be voting for Putin’s United Russia party, they are aware of their democratic power to vote it out if it fails to live up to expectations.
Kurlantzick also claims that “Medvedev oversaw a constitutional change that would allow Putin, now prime minister, to reclaim the presidency in 2012.” This is incorrect; the change extended the duration of the president’s time in office from four to six years, allowing a president to serve a maximum of 12 consecutive years. Putin was always eligible to run in 2012. Many, including myself, hope he will not.
Tomas Hirst Via the Prospect website