Candace from Candied Ginger has pointed me to a Washington Post article by Eugene B. Rumer that explains why Russia is "Not Another Soviet Union", despite Vladimir Putin's recent undemocratic moves to consolidate power.
Russia is joining the ranks of nascent dictatorships, and Vladimir Putin is the executioner of Russian democracy. Right? Wrong. Russia is not a dictatorship, and the political system Putin is trying to reshape is not a democracy. In its transition from the Soviet Union, it never got there. More important, before we lament the passing of Russian democracy and put the blame for its demise on Putin, let us consider our own record of dealing with Russia since the Soviet breakup and how the Russians themselves might see that record.I don't know this Rumer fellow, but Candace knows more about Russia than a girl-shaped genetic recombination of James Bond and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
The notion that Russian democracy is dying or dead because of Putin's proposed reforms is no more accurate than the idea that Russia was ever a democracy. The bloody confrontation between Boris Yeltsin and his parliament in 1993, the patently unfair reelection campaign Yeltsin waged against his Communist opponent in 1996, and the equally skewed parliamentary election campaign of 1999 are just a few examples of Russian democracy in action that do not pass the "you know it when you see it" test.