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Maximiliano Herrera -The Editor
Yesterday C.Rice announced that "Washington expects Putin to retire from presidency in 2008 and not ballot for the third presidential term". Well, the Russian constitution DOES say a person can be a president only two terms in a row. Why this ******* had to poke her nose into how Russians observe their own constitution? Who could seriosuly call such behavior "pro-freedom and democratic"???
Well this Bush administration has seens their "top leaders" Bush,Cheney,Rumsfield and Rice as people who are not be able to contain their speeches.
In many cases they fell even in contradictions and spoke something in the wrong places at the wrong times.
Pragmatism is something unknow to these guys.
And Miss Rice is not different, there are speculations she may run as candidate for the Republic Party against Miss Hillary Clinton in 2008.
About Russia, I do hope Putin will not seek any change to the Constitution and will allow a genuine ballot in 2008. He will show in this way some detractors of him were wrong.
But if try to change the Constitution again, after eliminating direct gubernatorial elections, well..in this case , even the good things he has done in Russia will be blured.
Let's hope something will educate Ms.Rice and her cronies how to be civilized.
As to Putin, I have no doubt he will step down as president in 2008. However, I will judge about his presidency not by how he kept this particular promise, but by how much he improved the situation in the country. The Western idea about politicians is different from the Russian one in many ways. One is that Westerners pay a lot of attention to the looks of a guy, to whether he kept some particular promise, whether he was involved in a sexual scandal. I think this is nice, because it shows that the Western society is prosperous, and more serious issues (war, poverty, unemployment, revolution) are not known to them. Russians nowadays are concerned about other things, like whether the social differences will start to disappear, whether there will be less crime (where "social differences" and "crime" are used in a much more stronger sense than in North America or Europe). So, for this reason, it is not really important for Russians whether Putin is a former KGB agent, whether he has kept a certain promise he made on a certain occasion, whether he had an affair with a secretary. And I think this makes it clear that imposing Western standards on Russian politicians is just not sensible.
As to Putin's decision about appointing local governers rather than having them elected: I mentioned here already, that this seems to be a better idea: local elections are typically rigged, corruption in local governments is great, and as a result the local population is unhappy. Just one example from the region I come from: the whole government (at least a couple of years ago) was composed of people originating from the same village as the president. The president was "elected" several times in a row, whereby all real opposiiton was removed from ballot and the only opposition he had was a minister of forestry from his own government. My point: Westerners should know what they are talking about when they criticise Putin.
Definitely nowadays Russia is not an easy country to keep under control.
But if the move of Putin will work, I hope that the long -term idea would be to give direct elections back to the kraia,oblasti and okruga ,when they will be able to govern itself fairly and freely.
I mean, It should be a temporary change, not permanent.