Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, March 17, 2014

Illiberal democracy in action

Looking for examples of an illiberal democracy in action to spice up your FRQs? Read the whole article for more details.

As Putin’s Popularity Soars, Voices of Opposition Are Being Drowned Out
There were two large rallies on Saturday in Moscow. One was a pro-government rally “in support of Crimea and against fascism,” led by a phalanx of husky men in identical crimson jackets, marching military-style in a sea of red…

The other was called a “March for Peace,” convened by the opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin. Holding paper doves aloft, they chanted “Putin Is Afraid of the Maidan” and a Ukrainian phrase that translates as “Putin, Get Out!” The police estimated that there were 3,000 people in this crowd, but it seemed many times larger, in the tens of thousands, filling a boulevard with
bodies for many blocks. The split reaction here reflects domestic tensions. Mr. Putin, who was shaken by large antigovernment demonstrations in Moscow two years ago, is using the confrontation to consolidate the public behind his rule, tapping into the deep well of emotion about the Soviet Union’s suffering at the hands of Nazi Germany. The authorities have tried to mobilize support on federal television channels, and have muted independent voices on the Internet…

Opponents of intervention in Ukraine have found themselves isolated as the crisis has mounted, and several marchers acknowledged that differences over Crimea had split their families or social circles. But the large crowd — numbers that the Kremlin could not ignore — made the mood buoyant…

While the world’s attention is trained on Ukraine, the Russian authorities are cracking down on independent news outlets here, and scores of young journalists… are facing unemployment…

On Wednesday, the editor of a respected independent news site, Lenta.ru, was abruptly replaced with a pro-government journalist after the site published an interview with a Ukrainian nationalist…

On Thursday, three opposition websites and a blog were blocked by the government’s communications watchdog, the first use of a new law that came into effect last month, which allows sites to be blocked without a court order…

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