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Opposition Politicians Refute Medvedev’s Reform Rhetoric

Mikhail Kasyanov, Vladimir Milov, Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov of the People’s Freedom Party, are taking no prisoners in a Washington Post op-ed:

Contrary to the wishful thinking many in Russia and abroad expressed when Medvedev took office – by de facto appointment – in 2008, his presidency has demonstrated no signs that his pro-democracy rhetoric might turn into real action. In fact, the opposite is true. This period was marked by increasingly restricted and falsified elections; war against Georgia; eased constraints on the use of armed forces abroad; the torture and death in custody of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for the police-raided investment fund Hermitage Capital; police lawlessness and corruption; and continued oppression of political opponents and dissent. European energy consumers have experienced supply cutoffs, just one form of Russia’s open pressure on its neighbors. Blatant hooliganism of pro-Kremlin youth organizations is promoted.

Medvedev has invested himself personally in this plethora of misdeeds.Together with his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, he is directlyresponsible for numerous human right violations and further degradationof the political atmosphere in this country. He no longer deserves thebenefit of the doubt. The question was asked at Davos in 2000 who Putinreally is. It should be clear now to everyone who Putin and Medvedev are.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in several months,and the presidential election is due next year. But officials’authoritarian actions late last year suggest that future elections willnot be better than previous ones – with winners appointed well inadvance of the voting, a homunculus opposition pretending to fight whilereal opposition candidates are not allowed to run, election commissionsproducing the required results, and Western short-term monitorsconfirming that on Election Day all but a few minor things were okay.

The Russian power tandem has indicated that they will soon decide whichof them would become the next president for the newly establishedsix-year term or even two consecutive terms. Nobody is asking theopinion of the Russian people, who are to go, zombie-like, to pollingstations to create the appropriate TV picture. This is how democracy isunderstood by Russia’s ruling group. 

Read on here.