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Is Russia a Real Democracy?


To begin with, the point of characteristic features of Russia in its democratization process differs a bit from other post-communist countries. Western countries promote the complex of ways for such measures and do this with a “mixed success”. The reforms which were started by Gorbachev in 1985 gradually displayed the changes in Russia with their advantages and limitation. The paper is rather straightforward in discussing the democracy problem in Russia and its modern way of reformation.

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The huge size of this country presupposes a strong and strict somehow ruling in it. This is a feature that, as far as I am concerned, characterizes Russia in its contemporary internal and external relationships. The issue of possibility and impossibility of democracy in Russia can be considered, first, out of an ordinary claim of what to mention by the word “democracy” in Russian understanding. Historically people of Russia are very obliged to follow the strong power of their state leaders and officials. From czar to President Russians tend to believe in their country due to the strict and forceful reign. Of course, foreign observers can state that after almost 19 years of post-Soviet realities Russia is out of democratization, but inside the country, public opinion appreciates and is proud of the current policy. It is so due to Russian mentality, as I suppose.

Historical evaluation

Clifford J. Levy (2007), a The New York Times reporter, is highly motivated to state that there are no democratic relations inside the country due to facts of Presidents’ succession like previously in the USSR and Imperial Russia (). This author notes that Vladimir V. Putin is a great example of the heir to Russian tradition when he was elected twice and found a great candidate for further elections, meaning Dmitry Medvedev. There are many thoughts about a style of suchlike state policy. Foreign observers even call these political affairs of two Presidents, former and current, “undemocratic”, mentioning a model of President-Prime Minister concurrence of actions. One of the imprisoned weighty persons in times of Putin’s political activity as a President M. Khodorkovsky in his letter once admitted: “Putin certainly is no liberal and no democrat, but he is more liberal and democratic than 70 percent of the population of our country” (Levy, December 16, 2007).

“Order” and “Stability”

Though there is a concentration of main powers headed by the President, it constitutes no liberal way for other parties and movements which do not support the current way of reforms. Rachel Polonsky (2004) gives a clear survey of different researchers and scholars in political relationships on facts of Russian peculiarities in policy and pays special attention to two concepts to be pointed out, namely: “order” and “stability”. So there is no development of the democratic movement in the country. This idea is also emphasized in Peter Hylarides’s (2006) article when he convincingly stresses that “democracy failed to take hold in the country”.


Thus, a difficult question of whether there is a democracy in Russia is considered with a negative response in most parameters when comparing with other developed countries. One of the gravest points according to this concerns a fact of “Putinism” and “one-handed” concentration of power throughout the country with further perspectives.

Reference List

  1. Hylarides, P 2006, “The Fate of Democracy in Russia”, Contemporary Review, p. 514.
  2. Levy, CJ 2007, “Russia’s Knockoff Democracy”, The New York Times, Web.
  3. Minier, JA 2001, “Is Democracy a Normal Good? Evidence from Democratic Movements”, Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 67, no.4, p. 996.
  4. Polonsky, R 2004, “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: Vladimir Putin’s Re-election as President Will Be the End for Any Hope of Liberal Democracy in Russia. Is He a Smooth-Talking Charmer, as He Likes to Present Himself, or Is He, as Those Critics Who Dare Speak out Suggest, Still Essentially a KGB Thug?”, New Statesman, p. 48.

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