“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why is Russia still in the G-8? Kick them out.

Riot police officers detain Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov

Please explain to me why we continue to pretend that Vladimir Putin is anything other than the retro-communist thug that he is? The only point to giving Russia the status of a normal state was to help make Russia a normal state. That is not happening and it is getting worse. At least the West should remove the prestige that Putin clearly enjoys from the pretense.

Let the Russians be swallowed by the Chinese or make their lot with the Iranians and Venezuelans. It would be good riddance.

European Press Review: The Kremlin Shows Its True Color
Deutche Welle

The crackdown on anti-Kremlin protestors sparked international condemnation

A sign of "weakness" or blatant disregard for international opinion? European newpapers have reacted to the beating and arrest of hundreds of Russian protesters, including opposition politician Garry Kasparov.

French newspaper Le Figaro expressed surprise at the events in Russia in the light of Putin's domestic support."The friends of Kasparov will not gain any popularity because their demonstrations are suppressed. The tough actions of the police will not trigger a wave of protest against those in power. Nevertheless, the Kremlin is showing an astonishing weakness by reacting so rigorously to the smallest sign of protest," muses the paper.

Austrian newspaper Die Presse also wondered why the Kremlin had acted so brutally: "You really ask yourself whether the people in power in Moscow are completely crazy. Apparently, President Putin continues to have the backing of 70 percent and more of the population. What are he and his technocrats afraid of?"

Riot police officers detain Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov
It added later: "If this small heap of civil and human rights campaigners, liberals, national bolchevists and anarchists really frightens the Putinists so much that they deploy a whole army of police against them, then their power base isn't looking rosy (…) In that case, this demonstration of power from the Kremlin has actually revealed its weakness."

Bulgarian newspaper Dnewnik described the beatings and arrests as par for the course. "Really no one should be surprised. It is enough to remember that the Russian President is a former KGB agent and that 90 percent of the leadership in today's Russia are a product of the former secret services."

Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung argued Putin was attempting to deter what had happened in parts of the former Soviet Union. "From the point of view of the governing regime of President Vladimir Putin this makes perfect sense. (…) The Kremlin has learnt its lesson from the peaceful revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine where after blatant vote rigging, protest rallies quickly gained momentum and led to the toppling of the respective governments. He wants to keep the protests as small as possible and incite fear among normal citizens."

But the paper also questioned whether this approach would really work. "It may work in the short-term," it wrote. "But in the long-term this was rarely a healthy political strategy."

Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende was damning about Russia's political system. "You have to be completely blind or excessively tolerant not to see that there is something wrong with Russia. Just a year before the elections that mark the end of President Putin's time in office, he has this country so firmly in his grip that democracy is just a shell."

The paper calls upon the international community to do more. "The EU and the US could happily exercise more pressure than is the case at the moment. Putin can carry out his actions largely unhindered".

Finally, German newspaper Die Welt also urged the West not to beat about the bush. The paper says any misguided sense of respect or fear of having Russia energy supplies cut should not stop the international community from taking action. "The West owes it to the dissidents in Putin's empire to speak openly."


  1. 2164, your threat writing is getting better and better, asking the right questions, illiciting some thoughtful responses...thanks

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Russia is fighting the same sort of enemy we are. Perhaps instead of beating up on Putin, you should ask yourself why is Putin so popular that an overwhelming percentage of Russian nationalists would rather do away with the constitution than do away with Putin?

  4. met, good point, the exercise of realpolitik. better the devil we know.

  5. Deuce,

    Because of my background I know the situation first hand. Putin has done nothing but enrich ordinary Russians, while at the same time he is fighting Islamofascists and their idiot Leftists, exactly as we are. It is Putin that has set virtual free trade zones where any ordinary Russian can go about and bring goods free of duty into the country. I know many friends that have become overnight millionaires because of this. Real-estate is booming and many Russian ex-pat are coming back. Of course, you wont hear any of this on CNN and the BBC.

  6. Met, thank you for the other point of view. That is the one thng I thoroughly enjoy about doing this blog. Informed dissent and intelligent argument. We would miss your presence.


  7. Deuce,

    Maybe my perspective is tinted (or tainted if you wish), but I do think that we would be in a much better position with Christian Russia as an ally than with any of the so called moderate Islamists. And I think that's something we should all work towards, don't you think?

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