From the always acerbic pen of Yulia Latynina:
And now we have the third wave of opposition to open society. It is coming from quasi-totalitarian countries such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya and Russia. They are so wealthy from oil and gas exports that their leaders don’t have to worry too much about making good or wise decisions. Like the Melanesian priests, these quasi-totalitarian leaders claim that they — and not the cursed white people of the West — have real freedom and a true understanding of peace. And since these regimes are swimming in petrodollars, their leaders make speeches about “true freedoms” while wearing expensive suits that are designed, manufactured and tailored in the West. You won’t see them addressing the nation standing barefoot in the sand under a banana tree.
In contrast to outright totalitarian regimes, the quasi-totalitarian regimes do not pose a real danger to the free world. That is why nobody worries much if one of their presidents gives an inflammatory speech about deploying Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. After all, who believes that the leaders of these regimes would ever launch a missile attack against a Western nation in which their luxurious villas and bank accounts are located?Nonetheless, I hope that quasi-totalitarian regimes won’t last forever. And I also hope one day to hear a speech by a Russian version of Obama — a president chosen by the people who will speak the real truth about freedom in our country.