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DaveUK1965
13-09-2003, 18:19
... catches up with the West ?

Talking "general standard of living for all Russians, not just Muscovites", folks.

Personally ? I think two generations. And I`d like to think of myself as optomistic, there.....

Dave

DaveUK1965
13-09-2003, 18:30
.... mainly due to the lack of a middle class OUTSIDE of Moscow/ St Pete (which has always been the case, according to most historians on the subject) and the lack of a "trickledown" economy.

I was really, really tempted to put "never" down here, but - I tend to think that the situation WILL move towards parity with the West, given time. Well. I`d like to think so.

Russia, to me, seems still locked in a pre-industrial revolution age of the incredibly rich minority and the incredibly poor majority. The arguments for the growth of an entrepreneurial society (Eric Hobsbawm here, folks) used to state that in countries with a buoyant middle cl**** entrepreneurship flourished. The rule of thumb was that the further West you were in Europe, the higher the prevalence of a "mercantile" or middle cl**** which was almost non - existant in Russia.

Unfortunately, it can be argued that Russia has not got any catching up to do with the West - it`s merely missed out on part of the cycle, and the situation that exists there at the moment is that the rich can create legislation which serves their own interests. I do - honestly - think that there WILL be a volte - face given time.... but I also think that outside of Moscow and St Pete, it`s going to take a hell of a long time, as - to change any system, you have to first change the expectations of the people within it.

Has anything changed since Soviet days ? Or. Has anything changed since Tsarist days ? Will it ever ?? What DO you think, then ???

Dave ;-)))))))))

stefania2003
13-09-2003, 21:10
A sad subject:(
I actually feel the answer would be 'never' and this is not just due to my natural Jewish pessimism but because, as Dave explains better than I can, the history of this place and the nature of the people.
Without a democracy in the accepted sense of the word, how can the majority of people here ever 'catch up?'
My friend's parents live in the country and are penniless and he has no money even to pay his college fees whereas in the West, he'd at least be entitled to some kind of grant. There is no safety net here for the poor and too many poor people.
No ruler here has ever yet had the guts or willpower to create or enforce the radical reforms that are necessary here and as long as this situation obtains then nothing will change - especially for those living in the regions.
If this was a smaller country and people were less tired AND there was some kind of grass roots movement, then there might be some kind of revolution. In the interim, it would be nice if the privatisations were reversed.

uninformed
13-09-2003, 22:12
If the GDP of Russia grows at twice the rate of western Europe then Russia will catch up with Portugal in 20 years. Portugal being the poorest of the current EU.

Two generations. However, with the population of Russia dropping by around 800,000 a year there won't be many people left here to enjoy it.

DaveUK1965
13-09-2003, 23:51
Remember, folks -

Russia went from being an essentially agrarian society in 1917 to full industrialisation by 1941, and that was despite a civil war and artificially created starvation and population migrations.

The point seems to be that life for the average Russian - is much the same as it`s always been - hard. That goes back not just a few generations - but centuries. The expectation of better is not there in the vast majority of the population.

But the people are NO different than those in the west - essentially. They have just been inculcated to expect..... less.

I have a some pre-revolution pictures somewhere on disk of a Tsar and his ministers - and the local landowners - and the church ministers being carried aloft by the teeming, straining, suffering masses. And it strikes me today that that has always been the case - just that during the Soviet years, the person being carried aloft by the many.... changed.

Can anyone honestly tell me that perestroika and glasnost have achieved anything for the average Russian ???

"Democracy. " A lot of posters to the site advocate democracy. It`s a fine word, a fine idea - but the point is that - step back to the 60`s - the old system in Russia *worked*. People enjoyed far better standards of living than they do today. And if - as Stefania says - there was a focus and an articulate voice to rally support for REAL changes in Russia - some Lenin character (and (I`m bald ;-)) ) who got on top of a soapbox and stirred people up with fire and anger, then.......... you may never see democracy in Russia.

Dangerous talk, eh ? "Oh, couldn`t happen here."

Remember Yeltsin standing on top of a tank opposite the White House ? Of COURSE it could happen. Russian politics are notorious for little warring factions.

Will there ever be change in Russia ? There HAS to be change.

But those two statements don`t logically follow each other, do they ?

What I can say is that the new generation, born into a different system, are definitely showing that they have different aspirations in life. Perhaps their children will have, too. Even more so. And I think that eventually Russia will lurch into step with the rest of Europe through necessity. The necessity of the ruling classes to consolidate their position by giving the majority just a little more to keep them happy. The floodgates WILL open, one of these days.

DaveUK1965
13-09-2003, 23:55
Advert -

"Charismatic bald man, intellectual, excellent at public speaking and with a great love for the common people of Russia seeks position in Moscow or St Petersburg "

;-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))


Perhaps it`s best if I stay in England, eh ? ;-))))))))) And you thought English football fans caused trouble when abroad....... ;-))))))))))))))))

uninformed
14-09-2003, 16:23
Originally posted by DaveUK1965
Can anyone honestly tell me that perestroika and glasnost have achieved anything for the average Russian ???



You can't be serious with that statement! If you are then you ignore the last 50 years of Russian history (preglasnost).

And, even if you forget what it has done for the Russians think what it has done for the Latvians, Czech's, Hungarians, East Germans, Lithuanians, etc etc. Glasnost and perestroika meant the end of the Soviet Union.

To bring the Czars into this is laughable. Remember Stalin? Remember Kruschev, et al?

DaveUK1965
14-09-2003, 19:02
Oh, I took the last 50 years of Russian history into account, and then remembered the few hundred BEFORE that. ;-))))))

There has never been any change in the way Russia is run - before 1905, the country didn`t even have a parliament - and the Duma, when it WAS put in place, was run directly by the Tsar and his ministers. The whole disastrous campaign in WW1 was "taken charge of by Tsar Nicholas" and is quoted by most historians as one of the major reasons - along with a famine - for the 1917 revolution.

Having a history degree does help here. ;-)))

If you read my post carefully, I am saying that nothing has EVER been done for the common Russian. Not since Tsarist days. Not after. The Soviet Union was merely a change of leadership with different people at the top of the pile - just as happened recently with perestroika (where there was NO restructuring) and glaznost (Putins` press and poll censorship - "openness " ? ")

What with "anti-communism" and "McCarthyism" the issue gets confused by some readers who think the Soviet Union was "an evil empire" - it was more evil than the empire that preceded it - but you could still find cases of mass starvation and cannibalism, in some cases, under Nicholas II`s autocratic rule - is there any difference in starving in Western Russia in 1916-7 under a Tsar than starving in Ukraine in 1932-3 under Stalin ?

Or being in the provinces and living on a diet of potatoes from the dacha today - under Putin ?

It is NOT ridiculous to bring Russian history into this because this is ALL about Russian history and Russia will NOT change until there is a general sharing out of riches - not just a few people at the top with everything. You don`t seem to understand that the IDEA of communism - the ownership of all by the many, not the few - was WONDERFUL for the majority of Russian people - to them, it WAS their democracy - but it never ever ever happened - and THAT is what the argument is about. When WILL Russia break away from being a great mass of poor people presided over by the very few who have no responsibilities to them ? And who gives a damn what those at the top of the pile call themselves when you have an empty stomach and holes in your shoes ?

"Remember Kryuschev ? " Well, I remember the standard of living was 10 times better under Kryuschev and Brezhnev, for a start. And who cares what the politics are when you`re starving ?

As I said - "democracy" has to produce some RESULTS for the people it is supposed to benefit. So far it has produced misery. "Democracy" is supposed to be the rule of the many " - so is the idea of "socialism". I know what the connotations are in the US - "socialism baaad, democracy goood " - the many in Russia have *nothing* except a fine constitution (but no laws to enforce it) and a great big welter of fine words from Moscow - with no results.

So, Ok - democracy is the solution. By which I take it is meant "parity with the West". The question is - when is it coming and how long it it going to take ?





Originally posted by uninformed
You can't be serious with that statement! If you are then you ignore the last 50 years of Russian history (preglasnost).

And, even if you forget what it has done for the Russians think what it has done for the Latvians, Czech's, Hungarians, East Germans, Lithuanians, etc etc. Glasnost and perestroika meant the end of the Soviet Union.

To bring the Czars into this is laughable. Remember Stalin? Remember Kruschev, et al?

DaveUK1965
14-09-2003, 19:13
"You can't be serious with that statement! If you are then you ignore the last 50 years of Russian history (preglasnost). "



I am extremely serious about it. The NKVD / OGPU / Okhranka (there`s me being told not to bring the Tsars into it whilst everyone forgets THEY had secret police, too) can`t take you off to a basement and have you tortured and shot anymore.....

.... you can`t be deported to Yakutia .....
... your entire population can`t be "relocated"....
... no one will come and remove all your stocks of food and force you to collectivise....

But what HAS glasnost and perestroika done for the average Russian ?

Nothing at all. Ten years - no results. If the only change is that the KGB is unlikely to put a 9mm Makarov round in the back of your head in a field, it`s to be applauded, but not much of a step on the road to a true democracy, is it ?

In the interim, standards of living drop through the floor, but - welcome to glaznost and perestroika. Have an advertising poster.

For the average Russian, life was actually better under Kryuschev and most of the Brezhnev era - shall we ignore that ???

All change, no change.

stefania2003
14-09-2003, 23:07
This is a deeply depressing place to live for the average Russian and until they have an independent Parliament answerable to the people and independent judiciary i.e. RULE OF LAW, the NOTHING will ever change. I like Dave's new job description (!) but I feel a mini-coup is lurking here and maybe Boris Berezovsky is not the only oligarch who is going to be seeking political asylum abroad.

DaveUK1965
14-09-2003, 23:40
Privet Stefaniya !

It`s very true. Until parliament is independent, and the Constitution is upheld and peoples` rights are, too - nothing is going to happen at all.

Government in Russia has NEVER been independent, with the 05 Duma run directly by the Tsar - a talking shop - dissolved when it caused problems, reinstated, dissolved again... a complete joke. As for the Soviet Era, lets, er, forget that one... but. I mean, what DOES the Duma do at the moment ? ;-))))))))

I couldn`t believe it last week when Berezovsky was offered asylum here in the UK, by the way - not after the links Phoney Tony has forged with Vladimir Putin (or says he has) - another great example of appearance over reality, eh ? ;-)) There DOES seem to be something going on - with Putin`s clampdown on the media. I don`t know what will happen, but I do hope - for the sake of decent, ordinary Russians all over the country, that something happens soon - and - something happens for the better.

Trouble is, after 75 years of being totally downtrodden, the decent, ordinary people have come to expect a lot less. But I think another 98 style crisis (and why the HELL was that allowed to happen ?) would result in heads rolling in Moscow - figuratively - and..... about time, too.

Dave ;-))))


Originally posted by stefania2003
This is a deeply depressing place to live for the average Russian and until they have an independent Parliament answerable to the people and independent judiciary i.e. RULE OF LAW, the NOTHING will ever change. I like Dave's new job description (!) but I feel a mini-coup is lurking here and maybe Boris Berezovsky is not the only oligarch who is going to be seeking political asylum abroad.

kiki
16-09-2003, 12:30
Russia should split - too big to manage.:confused: :eek: :confused:

FMCG
16-09-2003, 12:38
Actually, the form of government which is developing in Russia may end up being better and more manageable than democracy, which is becoming too much of a free for all (California recall nonsense; legislators running away in Texas etc). Let's face it - one man one vote is not fair when some illiterate who does not even know where to mark his X has the same voting power as a political science professor, and when a third generation able-bodied, able-minded welfare recipient has the same voting power as those who pay for his welfare. And as for the population decline, well, the fact is that more and more work will be done by machines, and countries with higher populations, and/or too much of a labor intensive blue collar industrial base may well suffer from social unrest as they did during the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, a decline in the birthrate, especially among those who simply can't afford to have children, may not be so negative. In any case, I think it will take one generation for Russia to catch up, and another generation for Russia to surpass many Western democracies in many ways, including standard of living.

Flora
16-09-2003, 13:44
Hmmmmmmmmm a most interesting read.
I second FMCG
In any case, I think it will take one generation for Russia to catch up, and another generation for Russia to surpass many Western democracies in many ways, including standard of living.

It can happen. Anything's possible. It will take a a while - 2 generations kak minimum.
But Russia will get there.
Pity we won't be here to see it tho :rolleyes:

Braders
16-09-2003, 15:22
I voted never.

Simply because something as simple as hot water not being turned of in the summer would take 600 Years to fix all the pipes, for them to be able to handle the extreme winter temperatures, i don't think Canada has the same problem.

The article was in the Moscow times and government figures were apparently quoted saying that.

So what chance have they got with building decent roads and apartment blocks everywhere for all citizens.

stefania2003
16-09-2003, 16:53
I agree with Braders. The only chance ordinary people had to obtain some education and quality of lie was under Brezhnev etc and now we've returned to Tsarist times with the ordinary people completely disenfranchised:(

Ned Kelly
16-09-2003, 16:56
Yes, alas, old Mother Russia will never catch up. This country is great when its on the back-foot but too self-destructive to actually produce anything decent for its subjects. If it did it would no longer be able to call itself Russia:rolleyes:

DaveUK1965
16-09-2003, 21:19
You could be right there, Ned.

I keep thinking back to the Stalinist four year plans (and before that) - it seemed that the only way to enforce change in Russia was at the point of a gun. "Perform or die."

Whether Stalin was actually GOOD for Russia (and a lot of Russians actually believe he was) is, er, possibly the subject matter for another poll, but... the point seems to be that you just simply can NOT introduce changes via demagogery any more.

I think it was Stefania who said that the only way that Russia would change would be when a rule of law existed there.... it`s not come, may never come, and after three generations of "the old system" and hundreds of years of Tsarism before it... it may take generations to grow out of the concept of deference to petifogging authority. Anyone with any degree of minor authority in Russia , in my experience - whether it`s concerning the issuance of forms or permits or even a loaf of bread - is either on the take or behaves as if you owe them an enormous favour.

Braders was mentioning the crumbled infrastructure - I`m not sure, Braders, if it`s such an enormous problem. Remember, most of the Kryuschevski housing was put up within a few years - doesn`t it show ? ;-))) There are all kinds of examples in history of infrastructures being turned around - Depression era America - all the public works programmes for the unemployed - Africa ! - millions of dollars sunk in to some countries to repair the infrastructure - it WORKED - however, the basically ultra-corrupt nature of those countries meant that there probably wasn`t any point repairing anything in the first place. ;-)))))))) All left to crumble.....

Probably what Russia needs is some form of benign dictatorship, but then again, there probably ain`t no such thing as a benign dictator, and you still have to have links to the rest of the world - it is SUPPOSEDLY in the rest of the worlds` interest to do trade with a powerful Russia (think of the arguments for rebuilding Germany post -1945) - but.... same token - seems that it`s more useful to have some people in the world poor forever.

Is Russia another Africa ? I sincerely hope not. Does it need another Stalin ? Or anyone like him ?? Again....... I sincerely hope not.

I`ll settle on two generations. Consider the changes in the world (in general) from, say, 1945 to 1980. Massive. And I hope - I sincerely do - that the same thing happens in Russia - massive change - in that amount of time. However, perestroika and glaznost have done NOTHING of any value for the Russian people, and, 12 years on, times are just as bad. It doesn`t look good, does it ?

But you never see history until it IS history. ;-)))))))))

Dave

Blackwidow
23-09-2003, 17:55
I actually agree with DaveUK on his "hstorical"views on Russia and where it is going and if and when it may arrive there.

A few Russians have said to me that the biggest problem, is that the average (nee majority) of Russians just accept anything that is said or given to them by their leadership. They feel (mentality wise) that they are unable to act to change anything...BUT, these same people also say that it is important that the average Russia does act, as they did in the early 90's to show what they want and that they won't accept the state of corruption that presently resides in Russia be it at the highest levels of their society.

However, there are some things that only many generations can change, one of which is the Russian mentality which sees (even those with good jobs/positions) the only way to gain is to cheat and they do it so brazenly!!

Don't misunderstand me, I like the people, feel genuinely sorry for them.......in reality they are like a child learning to play with new toys. They are clever and they learn very quickly and the standard of education here is much higher than most western countries....that is one thing that communism DID get right!

geneven
24-09-2003, 22:14
I wonder how long it will be before Russia achieves the standard of living that I saw in Estonia, let alone the US.

As far as whether things have improved for the poor in the last 50 years, it seems to me that I heard things about millions dying in the past, of things like starvation. How many people die of starvation these days? I really don't know, but not millions...

DaveUK1965
25-09-2003, 01:47
Naaah, it`s no longer politically expedient to have your citizens dying like flies. Bad for internationally marketing a country. But you CAN have 100,000,000+ of them living in total economic poverty.

Progress is obviously being made....

twaj
25-09-2003, 09:00
In order to succeed, Russia would have to develop an infrastructure consisting of a pan-Eurasian highway system connecting western markets with the far east and Russian mineral and land resources. A commodities market would allow the country's farms to develop so that Russia could start selling its produce, particularly to Japan and Korea. By the middle of the century, Russia could have a highway link between Beijing and Moscow, Moscow and Europe, and could then build similar links to India. The country would thrive by the roadside and require a percentage of lorry drivers to be nationals. Russia is essentially a big, empty mineral-rich country surrounded by markets that engage in regular commerce with each other.

After that speech it's time for a Russian anecdote:

Some Russian ministers were invited to New York for a city banquet, which was surprisingly lavish. They were impressed, and inquired of a city official how they could afford such a banquet. 'Ah, you see the bridge out the window?' 'Each time someone drives over that bridge, we charge them seven dollars.' (note: this was an add in, as the toll on the GWB was raised to 7 dollars.) The Russians nod, impressed.

Several months later, city officials from the city of New York are invited by Luzhkov to Moscow, which was even more lavish. The city officials are stunned, and inquire how the Russians are able to afford it. 'See bridge out window?' the Russian asks. 'No,' the New Yorker replies. 'Exactly.'

trebor
20-02-2004, 11:30
Singapore and South Korea achieved fantastic growth rates and prosperty for their peoples without having true democracy.
Only later did the govements adopt full accountability

earl
20-02-2004, 12:14
trebor:
Singapore and South Korea achieved fantastic growth rates and prosperty for their peoples without having true democracy.
Only later did the govements adopt full accountability
Yes and no... you need, I think, to distinguish between economic and political accountability. Obviously the two are to some extent intertwined, but they can be treated separately. Both countries have long had excellent economic accountability.

Contrast this to, say, Thailand: in Thailand, no foreign citizen can own property. You can set up shell games such as a corporation that owns property, but even then, the company has to be majority owned by Thais. Even if a foreigner marries a Thai, the Thai has to own the land and the best the foreigner can do is have a 30 year lease on the land, but own the house or business.

Also, due to the randomness of politics, occasionally the government will just up and take these business. The upshot is that, because of the risk and extreme lack of economic transparency, capital is expensive as all hell.

I think, similarly, this is why investors got so freaked about the whole business with the oil company is Russia a while ago.




Twaj:
In order to succeed, Russia would have to develop an infrastructure consisting of a pan-Eurasian highway system connecting western markets with the far east and Russian mineral and land resources. A commodities market would allow the country's farms to develop so that Russia could start selling its produce, particularly to Japan and Korea. By the middle of the century, Russia could have a highway link between Beijing and Moscow, Moscow and Europe, and could then build similar links to India. The country would thrive by the roadside and require a percentage of lorry drivers to be nationals. Russia is essentially a big, empty mineral-rich country surrounded by markets that engage in regular commerce with each other.
Connecting markets -- ie lowering transaction costs -- would be a very good start, but I don't think that, barring disaster, the rest of the world will ever catch up with America and Japan. We invest heavily in capital, and such investment is cumulative. Offhand, I would guess that America has spent several trillion dollars on just transportation and utilites in the last century; that's an investment that's hard to duplicate. Japan has the obvious advantages of being both comparatively dense and unburdened by excessive development >50 years old.

As for political freedom, I think that tends to go hand-in-hand with economic power; South Korea is certainly much better than it was even 10 years ago. See also Taiwan.


Dave:
Africa ! - millions of dollars sunk in to some countries to repair the infrastructure - it WORKED - however, the basically ultra-corrupt nature of those countries meant that there probably wasn`t any point repairing anything in the first place. ;-)))))))) All left to crumble.....
I'm dubious; first, it seems to me that those millions of dollars were invested several decades ago, so it's probably billions of dollars in today's currency. Second, I dunno how much of that infrastructure ever was developed; sure there was some during colonial periods but I doubt all that much more than a rudimentary highway system and some trains.

Also, you have to consider the investment in governmental infrastructure: legislatures, courts, judges, lawyers, politicians, and the rule of law; that has pretty much been obliterated over the last 50 years.

-earl-

Tintin
20-02-2004, 16:08
Respect to all the well informed comments.

I think the answer to Dave's question is easy: never.

I think it is the question that is harder.

Certainly democracy and the market economy have provided much of the people living under these systems with a relatively higher standard of living than those that don't. The danger here is prescribing these systems onto others because of their success elsewhere.

I think it is interesting to note that in the lists of TOP 10 happiest nations that are periodically published by The Economist etc Thailand always comes near the top although the GDP (read - standard of living) there is far behind so called wealthier nations.

There's my 10 kopeks worth.

PS I am not a hippy.

trebor
20-02-2004, 18:44
A previous post had mentioned that for the economy to grow in Russia, Russia needs to adopt a more democratic approach to government.
My point was that this is not always the case. In fact, early on in a countries development to much democracy can be a hinderance. This requires of course that the de facto dictator/president has a geniune vision and a credible plan to deliver. Later, when the country is on the road to economic prosperity, he can release power to an electorate.
Thailand is a typical case as is Malaysia and China if it succeeds. There are many simularities with Russia, not least, rampant corruption but they understood the importance of attracting foriegn investment and creating a climate of transparency.
Russia can do the same. There are many advantages here over other developing nations. The most important being a well educated work force the possibility of creating a diverse economy (away from just oil and gas)
In the right hands ( and who's to say those don't belong to Putin)and given time Russia has a bright future.

blue1051
20-02-2004, 23:04
I think that Russia will be economically viable, in a Western sense, within two generations. The generation now coming of age barely remembers the Soviet era. Those now in school don't remember it at all. The ability to think and speak openly is something they take for granted.

My wife graduated university in 89. I asked her in 2000 if she thought the communists could return to power, and she said no. Her students at that time couldn't comprehend what living under Soviet power was like, and she didn't think they would stand for a return to such a system.

When those in the West assume that economic prosperity requires democracy, it is just that we can't conceive of another system. I think it's a mistake to consider Russia as merely a slightly more exotic European country. Russia has always been a completely different animal than either the West or the East. Just as an American can't understand the need for conformity that exists in Oriental cultures, we can't understand the need for a feeling of stability and control that Russians have.

I think that Russia will evolve its own style of "democracy", perhaps one that is more authoritarian than those of the U.S. and Europe. As long as the political system supports a market economy, and a consistent rule of law evolves, the basis for major economic gains is there.

There has never been a third-world nation with 98% literacy rates and capability for advanced scientific and engineering that is home grown. Russia has the potential to advance quite rapidly, but we may not recognize the direction it's going.

Dave, the future of Russia is in its past. As you say, that past is very unlike any other country. Why would its future be like any other?

Blackwidow
21-02-2004, 09:13
I wholeheartedly agree with the previous writer. Also, what he said is very factual and true........couldn't have said better myself. All Russia needs is direction, but one which itself must find and define. It IS potentially a great nation and I hope it will stop trying to copy and instead innovate, as its potential is huge and is in a better "market" position to America (who like all self styled 'empires' will have its waterloo!).

Russia has one thing that few countries share..........a long history and experience of an empire.

Finally, why should Russia have a 'Western style' demicracy and which model to follow..........you cannot say that any one democracy in the world is identical or perfect. The people at the top will always be there and control the masses. It is also pointless to try to tackle corruption at this level, as for every one person removed there are at least a 100 waiting to take their place. Far better to tackle corruption at the bottom, with better pay, education (in the sense of mentality) and severe penalties. This would eventually bare fruit and replace those at the top as they die or retire.............

RGO
21-02-2004, 10:32
I can't relate to all the doom and gloom posted here.
The standard of living is starting to rise as we speak. Admittedly, slowly and only (probably) in Moscow from a lower level than before the coup but it is beginning.

Ghost
05-03-2004, 12:28
I voted never. I read somewhere that all the major decision making policies in thie country are made by less than 150 people. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

There is no democracy here, nor will there be until - if ever - the people stand up and demand one.

-Ghost

allice
05-03-2004, 13:07
IMHO it is impossible to have a truly democratic government in a country as big as this one. Plus we have no traditions of democracy whatsoever.

uninformed
08-03-2004, 22:45
Originally posted by allice
IMHO it is impossible to have a truly democratic government in a country as big as this one. Plus we have no traditions of democracy whatsoever.

What does the geographical size have to do with the form of government? Exactly nothing. The population itself is not that large, either, at 145 million and it is declining.

trebor
08-03-2004, 23:33
In my opinion the last thing Russia needs now at this stage in its development is democracy.

DaveUKagain
09-03-2004, 01:23
Public accountability, a legal system that works, a government that works, a constitution that means something to the man in the ulitsa - decent wages, housing, the brightest minds rewarded and not paid a pittance (forcing them to go elsewhere) - managing to convince the Militsiya that they`re actually there to hold up law and order and not act like the Okhrana / NKVD / KGB - pensioners cared for, the disabled looked after, people paid a decent wage for a decent day`s work........

......... the list goes on and on.........

And the truly appaling thing is that Russia is a land of vast agricultural, mineral and oil reserves with a highly educated and capable population - all squandered.

The potential is astonishing. But potential on it`s own means nothing.

I always think that what Russia needs is a benign dictator. Someone who will drag the country out of the mire by force. But. Hasn`t Russia had enough of that in it`s history ?? What IS the solution ?? Damned if I know, but I hope it comes soon. And. If there is something to aim for, hopefully Russian fatalism won`t win the day.........

Hawk
09-09-2007, 15:19
Russia wont have to try to catch up... and it should'nt...

I often admire and enjoy the simple kinds of life style... Its not as comfortable as high tech western lifestyles indeed, but its more wholesome and rewarding...

WilliamFTH
09-09-2007, 22:19
Actually, the form of government which is developing in Russia may end up being better and more manageable than democracy, which is becoming too much of a free for all (California recall nonsense; legislators running away in Texas etc). Let's face it - one man one vote is not fair when some illiterate who does not even know where to mark his X has the same voting power as a political science professor, and when a third generation able-bodied, able-minded welfare recipient has the same voting power as those who pay for his welfare. And as for the population decline, well, the fact is that more and more work will be done by machines, and countries with higher populations, and/or too much of a labor intensive blue collar industrial base may well suffer from social unrest as they did during the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, a decline in the birthrate, especially among those who simply can't afford to have children, may not be so negative. In any case, I think it will take one generation for Russia to catch up, and another generation for Russia to surpass many Western democracies in many ways, including standard of living.
Same view here, just like China.............