The Return of Russian Despotism

This Washington Post article sums up the state of affairs in Russia. Key points include:

  • Supression of free media outlets

  • Forced nationalization of key economic sectors, such as the oil industry

  • Punishment of neighboring countries using oil prices as a weapon

  • Manipulation of the national legislature to make it subservient to the Kremlin

The net effect is a removal of most of the checks that originally existed to contain the power of the executive. All of this prompted resigning Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov to say that “[Russia] is no longer a democratic country. It is no longer a free country.”

Please also see this Freedom House press release concerning recently approved legislation to restrict the activities of Non-Government Organizations in Russia. Note that Freedom House has recently lowered Russia’s rating from “partly free” to “not free.”

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