Economic Growth as a Substitute for Democracy

As Mikhail Kasyanov tells the Economist, the liberal opposition is having trouble gaining a foothold in Russia because so many have tragically been led to believe that economic growth and democratic freedoms are mutually exclusive qualities:

Few Russians care enough about freedom of speech or human rights to risk their improving lifestyle. “The Kremlin has done a deal with the Russian people,” says Mr Kasyanov. ‘“Citizens! Enjoy life, travel abroad, buy cars, but don’t get involved in politics – If your patriotic feelings start to stir, we’ll satisfy them.’”