This blog, broadly-construed, is dedicated to the nitty-gritty details of the practice of democracy in the world's oldest republic. It is examining the mechanics and meaning of the highest-profile Senate race in the republic against the backdrop of a bold attempt to bring democracy to one of the most undemocratic regions in the world. And so it's depressing to read stories like this from the Associated Press about the ghastly situation in Russia:
In Russia, says Harvard historian Richard Pipes, "democracy is widely viewed as a fraud" and as an exercise "controlled by powerful clans." By a margin of more than 3-to-1, Russians believe that multiparty elections do more harm than good, Pipes writes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Do Russians treasure their more independent post-Soviet press? Not really, says Pipes, pointing to a poll conducted last winter by Romir Monitoring which found that 76 percent favor restoring mass media censorship. Only 11 percent would be unwilling to exchange their freedoms of speech, press or movement for stability, according to another poll cited by Pipes, who gained renown during the Cold War for his strong anti-communist views.