Putin a second Stolypin? (letter)by David M. AbbottNews Weekly
, February 26, 2005
R.J. Stove's article, "Putin, Communism, and Santamaria's hopes for Russia" (News Weekly
, January 29, 2005) calls for some dissent, for some drawing back from unthinking condemnation.
I think the jury is still out on Putin as Russia's president - a post he achieved, after all, fair and square by the electoral process.
A pity there wasn't an adequate figure in opposition, but then the Russians wanted stability after the too-ing and fro-ing of the Yeltsin era with its economic corruption by get-rich-quick tycoons. Putin, using tax evasion prosecution, has taken some of these down a peg or two, has he not?
Stove finds the move by Putin to appoint governors, rather than let them contest popular elections, a dreadful step back from democracy toward totalitarianism.
With the example of Chechnya, it may be viewed as a step to halt the disintegration of Russia rather than an inclination to tyranny.
After all, is Stove up in arms because all the Australian State governors are appointed by the executive and not elected? Comparisons may be invidious, but think about it!
Putin may turn out to be more of a Stolypin-like figure than anything else - a Stolypin, say, spared from assassination to persist long enough with institutional reform to avert the free-fall into 1917 Bolshevism. Talk about changing the course of history!
Putin may be just the man Russia needs at this juncture.
You know, News Weekly
does not want to be too hopelessly right-wing, foaming at the mouth at the mention of Communism.David M. Abbott,