Friday, December 03, 2004

"Even if dictatorship is wrapped up in a beautiful package of pseuo-democratic phraseology, it will not be in a position to solve systemic problems," Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying in a speech on Friday, Dec. 3, 2004, in New Delhi.

By following the constitution and saying he will not run for a second term, Putin is the most significant democratic force in Russia, and maybe in the world right now, despite the fact that he earlier took away elections for Russian governors. When he took away the he may have been testing the waters for public response to other non-democratic measures, suc as running fo ra third therm against the constitution, or not even calling an elevtion and remaining in power for as long as he wants. But the negative response to his move may have been a factor in his seeming resignation to leaving the presidency. It is hard to imagine that he will disappear. I can see him becoming an outspoken voice for democracy, which I think he has the opportunity to do. A statesman for peace.