| I was terrified when I saw the first elections results
coming from polling
stations in Russia's Far East late
Sunday. A few hours later my friends observing the elections raised their
glasses and drank to the funeral of
It was not a joke. A funeral is exactly what happened. Last weekend
population sentenced democracy to
death, giving up the right to form the country's laws and leaving this
in the hands of nationalists,
fascists and autocrats.
A big and, maybe the best part of the population, the intelligentsia,
free-minded people - literally
millions of Russian citizens supporting basic democratic values - were
thrown aside by a crowd of the blind
majority that was so easily "managed" and ready to do whatever
it was told
It was hard to believe there is no liberal party in the State Duma
but this is a bitter fact the country
will have to face for years into the future.
"The 20 percent of people who voted in St. Petersburg [for Yabloko
and SPS] will not have their representatives in the State Duma,"
fontanka.ru quoted Mikhail
Amosov, head of the city's Yabloko faction, as saying Monday. "This
was the intelligentsia and the business community, in other words independent
people, whose interests will not be represented in the State Duma."
From now on the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Yabloko faction
off from being able to back the
city's interests at the federal level, as it frequently did while the
faction was actively operating in the
parliament, he added sadly.
"When such problems appeared I would just pick up the phone, dialing
number for Yabloko at the State
Duma and the problems were solved," he said. "Now I don't know
Amosov, along with other liberals in the city and across the country
found themselves locked in the
chains of the new power vertical, construction of which was started in
by President Vladimir Putin. He
started by creating seven mega districts and finished on Sunday with the
election of the fully subordinated
parliament filled with deputies colored gray, brown and red.
The Kremlin has no need for bright and open-minded figures because
disturb its plans to control the
crowd. Another bitter fact is that the liberals are bound to become a
of that crowd. This is the new
position found for them in the power vertical.
The situation does not look that terrible in comparison, for instance,
the experience of Kazakhstan - a
country where controlled democracy has been in place for many years.
Business is working, foreign
companies operate quite well in the region, people are not sent to
But in the long run such a development looks very sad and might even
dangerous. The election is just
more proof that Russia has strayed a long way off the path to becoming
real democratic country. After a
more than 10 years of struggle to became part of European society, Russia
has given up and rolled back to its
original position. It considers itself not to be in the West and not in
East, but somewhere in the middle.
It has found its own path again, while the civilized world drives on
the original at
State Duma elections 2003