By Donald Murray
Long-time Moscow correspondent Donald Murray analyzes the production of the 1st actual parliaments within the Soviet Union and Russia and indicates how Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin used and abused the democratic associations they helped make attainable during this e-book. Arguing that Gorbachev and Yeltsin used the democratic associations they created to overwhelm political competitors and raise their very own own energy, Murray concludes that the increase of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the struggle in Chechnya should not aberrations on Russia's street to democracy however the logical extension and end result of Gorbachev's and Yeltsin's despotism. the writer Donald Murray was once the Moscow correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting company and Radio Canada from 1988 to 1994.
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Extra resources for A Democracy of Despots
Yeltsin had been refused admittance to the Red Hundred by Gorbachev. Now he was besieged by more than two hundred requests to run in ridings around the country. He chose to run in Moscow. The setting chosen for the district commission meeting at which Yeltsin was one of ten hopeful candidates was thick with history. This was the Hall of Columns in central Moscow, once the Club of the Nobility. Here Lenin, Stalin, Andropov, and Chernenko had all lain in state. And here, in the notorious Stalin show trials of the 19305, Mensheviks, Trotskyists, and finally old Bolshevik companions of Lenin had abjectly confessed to imaginary crimes and grotesque conspiracies before being taken away to be shot.
To give it a faint whiff of choice, 641 "electors," composed of Central Committee members and specially invited guests, were eventually allowed to vote for or against each candidate. 3 The First Campaign 35 Reflecting on this election years later, several of Gorbachev's advisers insisted on the validity of this decision. The Politburo ruled the country; it had to be represented in the legislature. ) At the same time, the pruning of the list eliminated many of the most reactionary members of the Central Committee in favour of fifty-two workers and peasants and several liberal intellectuals.
In retrospect, participants and advisers suggested different reasons for this: no one wanted to criticize openly "democracy," the Leninist model stifled many potential objections, the old men in the Kremlin were complacently convinced that all this was merely cosmetic, that the party would continue to pull all the key strings. Yegor Ligachev offered a simpler explanation: "Of course, there were arguments [about competitive elections and a new Congress] but they weren't nearly as violent as those about the interpretation of our history.