The activities of the Russian Government over the past two decades have established Russia politics in its own image. The upsurge in democracy and human rights within the last year has been reversed by Draconian measures that make the list of repressive states in the world. In addition, as Russian security agencies have carried out a wide-ranging dragnet for international human rights defenders, their most visible leaders have been apprehended for their international crimes.
Russia’s recent elections have not provided any ray of hope. In contrast to western democracies, a tight economic crisis has made life harder for many citizens of Russia. This has also increased the chance of a rapid return to dictatorship. With political parties now playing a bigger role in Russian politics than ever before, the future for democracy in Russia is looking bleak.
If you are unfamiliar with the politics definition of democracy in Russia, it is simple. It means that all citizens should have an equal say in making decisions and that the government should not act as a one-man government. It is the principle that a majority must vote and that a specific group of people or a certain group of individuals that hold influence must give way to the preferences of the general population.
How can this be done in a country that is a long way from having a democracy? In general, only the group or the set of people in charge can bring about change. Only when there is a strong leader who has a good relationship with all groups will the transition to democracy to be smooth.
It is undeniable that most Russians look at democratic systems as a form of rule by force. In some ways, it is quite appropriate. However, some of those who have studied Russia politics in depth think that in the current circumstances, Russian democracy is the best form of governance.
The composition of the new Russian parliament is clearly indicative of the fact that the population has never had any time to vote in such a system. Members of the parliament do not represent their own views but serve the wishes of the current political leadership. They cannot and should not be blamed for decisions that they did not help make.
Though Russian citizens are now allowed to participate in political parties, there are many restrictions. In order to be included in the ruling political party, voters must have a minimum of 18 years of age. Moreover, only some members of the legislative bodies and parliamentary parties can even run.
Despite the legal framework, we still do not know how many parties exist in Russia. What we do know is that each of them does play a role in running the government. What is certain is that one of the leading political parties in Russia is headed by a man who enjoys almost complete control over the country.
In order to reach such a position, Putin’s rise to power in Russia has been nothing short of extraordinary. He took over a party that was in disarray, completely dominated parliament and orchestrated a dramatic comeback that helped to assure him a third presidential term. There have been numerous other spectacular victories, but one has to take into account that they were only achieved after an extensive campaign that many of his opponents simply could not match.
Those who study Russia politics describe the current situation as a kind of Russia party dictatorship. It is a far cry from the early years of the system, when representatives were accountable to the people and the political parties were able to bring about radical changes. This came as a result of mass mobilization on the part of the populations in support of the changes that they wanted to see.
This is precisely what makes the situation in Russia interesting and compelling. With social protests outnumbering the political upheavals, ordinary citizens can be heard to shout that they no longer recognise the systems. And though the West condemns the rhetoric and the protest movements, those who rule over Russia are prepared to enact drastic measures to stay in power.
If Russia is seen as a dictatorship rather than a democracy, it could prove fatal for the entire system. and may encourage the emergence of a new set of alternative models.