The Regime and Opposition after the Presidential “Election”
The remaining contenders represented political parties best known for rubberstamping the Kremlin’s agenda (Vladimir Zhirinovsky‘s Liberal Democratic Party and Gennady Zyuganov‘s Communist Party) or are, like Andrei Bogdanov‘s Democratic Party of Russia, unabashed puppet creations of the Kremlin.
At the same time, the Central Election Commission, entirely subservient to the Kremlin, has employed bureaucratic dirty tricks to “disqualify” the genuine liberal opposition candidates and to harass pro-democracy activists. Often denied the freedom to rent spaces for meetings, to advertise, and to collect nominating signatures, and subjected to blatantly biased court rulings, opposition campaigns have been barred from the election.
In the aftermath of this electoral manipulation, what is the future of political opposition in Russia? Is the Kremlin’s ownership of Russian politics absolute, or is the regime’s fear of public opposition a sign of inherent weakness? Can liberal opposition be sustained through existing political structures, or will the movement turn to street protests and Soviet-style underground dissidence?
On March 10, 2008, The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted those who are best qualified to answer these questions: the leading members of Russia’s liberal pro-democracy opposition.
– Oleg Buklemishev, advisor to former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, People’s Democratic Union
– Boris Nemtsov, former first deputy prime minister; cofounder of Union of Right Forces
– Vladimir Ryzhkov, former Duma deputy; cochair, Republican Party of Russia
Special thanks to Veronique Rodman, AEI’s Director of Communications for recording and streaming the event.