In light of the current war against Islamo-Fascist ideology I was willing to give Russian President Putin a benefit of a doubt, despite his clearly dictatorial tendencies. I was willing to view him as a Russian version of Spain’s Franco or Chile’s Pinochet, a dictator whose goal is to prepare his country for true constitutional democracy. Unfortunately it looks more and more like I have been wrong. A friend e-mailed me this disturbing article:
Russia: ‘National Leader’ Idea Gains Strength
By Brian Whitmore
Russia — Members of the Vladimir Putin Fan Club participate in a rally in Moscow, 25 Oct 2007
Recent rally supporting Putin
November 18, 2007 (RFE/RL) — Russia has a hot new catchphrase that is obsessing the political elite and is being chanted like a mantra by the media: National Leader.
More than 700 delegates from across the country turned up for a well-orchestrated pep rally in the city of Tver on November 15 to pledge allegiance to President Vladimir Putin and implore him to remain in power after his term ends next year.
Since Putin is constitutionally forbidden from seeking a third consecutive term as president, the event’s organizers are proposing to grant him a sort of elevated mythological status as Russia’s supreme ruler who would lord over any future president or prime minister — unburdened by troublesome term limits and pesky constitutional restrictions.
The meeting, held in a local theater adorned with Russian tricolor flags and banners reading "For Putin!," followed a wave of demonstrations in support of the president in numerous Russian regions. It resulted in forming an organization called the "All-Russian Council of Initiative Groups to Support Putin."
"We are gathering not for a third term," Pavel Astakhov, a prominent attorney who was elected the organization’s leader, told RFE/RL’s Russian Service. "We respect the president’s word and we believe him when he says he will not change the constitution. And since he will not change the constitution, we need to find a new configuration of authority."
Astrakhov later told reporters that his group has gathered 30 million signatures in support of Putin remaining in power as Russia’s "national leader." (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit)
He insists that that the recent groundswell of pro-Putin demonstrations is a genuine grassroots movement and is not being orchestrated by the Kremlin. Press reports and critics of the Kremlin, however, have alleged that students and state employees have been pressured to attend the rallies.
Read the whole thing. So, it looks like Russia is moving from a Communist dictatorship to a nationalist totalitarian dictatorship. I don’t call it "Nazi" only because there seems to be no "socialist" part of it. A country that is looking for some national idea and finding only nationalism, but lacking any moral foundation and failing economically and demographically, may blame others for its failings and lash out to prove its greatness. That is very dangerous. We might still find Russia allied with our enemies, even though it does not make any sense at this point.
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