Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Want an example of "co-opt?"

Russia’s Liberals Lose Their Voice

"Nikita Y. Belykh, 33, who represented the future of the liberal opposition, said yes. He accepted an appointment as one of the Kremlin’s regional governors, turning his back on his party allies and becoming emblematic of the opposition’s difficulties this year.

"A man who had once declared, 'I have no intention of doing deals with the Kremlin' was doing just that...

"Mr. Belykh’s pact with the Kremlin was a milestone in its lengthy campaign to all but stamp out the liberal opposition. Polls show that roughly 10 to 20 percent of Russians back the agenda of the liberals, which includes a pro-Western, free-market orientation and far less government regulation of industry and the news media.

"Even so, the party that Mr. Belykh used to lead, the Union of Right Forces, received only 1 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections last year, after being subjected to intense pressure by the government. It did not even run a candidate in the presidential election this year. In October, the party disbanded..."

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