Almost two decades have passed since the people of Russia witnessed the end of Communism in their country and the birth of what many hoped would be a democratic society. Unfortunately, economic collapse allowed petty tyrants like Vladmir Putin to use fear of violence and Chechnya terrorism to force those who oppose him into the security of silence. Men like Khodorkovsky who openly dared to oppose the Putin regime were sent to prison on false charges. Over the past twenty years various human rights groups have struggle to enforce their right to peacefully assemble and protest against the government. Last October, Serge Subaynin became mayor of Moscow and ushered in new changes. He decided people could meet in open and express their ideas. Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a fighter for human rights, was pleased that her group was granted the right to assemble. “Strategy 31 has fulfilled its task and the authorities have had to accept us.” Now, they can peacefully assemble in public.
The right of assembly is only step one in the process of establishing a democratic Russia. Next on the list is a free election. Hopefully, President Medvedev will run for the presidency and finally get rid of Prime Minister Putin who has opposed at every turn the establishment of a modern democracy in Russia.