Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Irina Khakamada: sex, booze, kidnap

A guide to the Kremlin: sex, booze, kidnap:

Another interesting little article from Nick Paton Walsh at the Guardian Unlimited. It is likely to be unpopular with a certain segment of Russians, but her observations are quite valid.
"But for Ms. Khakamada, 51, a president's gender is not yet relevant in Russia's 'managed democracy', where only one vote counts, that of Mr. Putin. 'The first priority is not when will there be a first women president of Russia, but when the president will be someone not chosen by the oligarchs and the vlast,' she says.

Kremlin advocates would say a similar business and social nomenklatura rule the UK or US, but Ms. Khakamada disagrees.

'In the west a politician is not a god, but hired by society to serve the state,' she writes. 'But here it is quite the opposite. Politicians hire society to satisfy their permanently growing demands.'

When Ms. Khakamada stood against Mr. Putin, she complained of how her campaign adverts were broadcast only on state-dominated television early in the morning, when most voters were asleep or on the way to work. Her name was blackened in many ways, including the suggestion she was a Kremlin stooge. This is part of what she calls the 'virtual matrix' of Russian politics - a Kremlin-run construct designed to provide a captive audience with a predetermined political process in which any real opponents are hamstrung."

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