Quiet reigns in Russia after last weekend’s brutal clamp down on Garry Kasporov,a leading dissident and opponent of Vladmir Putin. The European press was shocked at the open brutality displayed by Russian police toward a peaceful demonstration of people who were waving banners saying, “Russia Without Putin.” Apparently, even such a mild form of dissident behavior is cause for a major assault on people. Baton wielding police charged into the demonstration and arrested 200 people including Kasporov and the former vice premier of Russia, Boris Nemzov. As Germany’s Die Tageszeittung noted in a blistering editorial against the Russian leader, “Moscow has now permanently discredited itself in the eyes of the world.”
The question bothering many experts is why has Putin taken such a drastic open policy of crushing any form of disagreement with his rule. There is scant doubt his United Russia party will garner about 70% of the vote and no major opposition party will get more than about a 7% share of votes. Why is he so firm in refusing to allow even the semblance of a democratic society? The charade is now over, Russia is under the control of a one man government, something Russians thought ended with the downfall of communism.