Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

International politics

Russian President Putin has made it next to impossible for his political opposition to operate within Russia. So, how about an opposition movement based outside of Russia? (Where have I heard that story before?)

And while we're at it, should we take note of the reference to "European-oriented?" Is this another zapadniki challenge to the predominant Slavophile culture? On this theme of Russian political culture see:

Russian Dissident Opens New Chapter in His Anti-Putin Movement
“Russia has been wasting time these past 10 years,” Mr. Khodorkovsky told an audience of American admirers at a dinner sponsored by the advocacy organization Freedom House on Wednesday night, in his first speech in the United States since being released from prison last year. “Now is when we must begin to make up this lost time.”…

Mr. Khodorkovsky announced last month that he was re-establishing Open Russia, his foundation supporting civil society in his home country. In recent days, he has positioned himself as the leader of a renewed opposition intent on replacing Mr. Putin and bringing European-style democracy to Russia.

At age 51, he is an unlikely dissident. A onetime Communist youth leader, he grew up in Russia’s emerging Wild West capitalism to take advantage of what he now says was a corrupt privatization system and led the country’s largest private oil company, Yukos.

He eventually refashioned himself as a reformed robber baron now committed to freedom and rule of law, but when he challenged Mr. Putin’s chokehold on Russian society, he was arrested in 2003…

He was convicted on tax and fraud charges while his company was dismantled and largely absorbed by a state oil firm headed by a close Putin ally…

“It’s not just Putin that needs to be replaced,” he told a small group of journalists and foreign policy specialists over lunch this week. “The entire system needs to be changed.”

He said only a fraction — he estimated 12 percent — of Russians are currently European-oriented, but he hoped to convince many of the rest that they should be, too.

“I see that I might be able to offer myself to the European-oriented part of the population as its political representative,” he said. “I don’t know whether it will work out or not, but I’m going to give it a try.”

He expressed some hesitance about the idea of becoming Russia’s leader himself. “I really hope they find somebody else,” he said. “Historically, the person in charge during the transition period most likely ends up in jail.”

Then he added with a laugh, “I’ve had enough.”…

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At 8:21 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

100 fans held for Putin song at Euro 2016 game

More than 100 football fans have been detained in Belarus after nearly the entire stadium joined in chanting a well-known song insulting Russian President Vladimir Putin, media reports say.

Both local and visiting fans at the Euro 2016 qualifier between Ukraine and Belarus in Borisov came together in a rousing rendition of the song - which has became a popular expression of opposition to Putin in Ukraine…

After the match, about 100 Ukrainian and 30 Belarusian were held and taken to the local KGB station, reportedly on suspicion of using "obscene language"…


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