Under the “leadership” of Vladmir Putin, the once growing state of democracy in Russia has increasingly been stifled. The press requires licenses to operate and all opposition television stations are no longer allowed to broadcast. Governors are no longer elected but appointed by President Putin. Now, this man who fears democracy announced he is establishing a new think tank for democracy in Brussels. He says since the European Union once helped Russia to develop democracy, “I think the time has come for Russia, given the growth in our financial capabilities, to make its contribution in the sphere as well.” When asked if Russia would make their venture a joint one with European advocates of democracy, his spokesperson said it would be 100% Russian. The Institute would monitor the rights of ethnic minorities, immigrants, and the media in Europe. One goal would be to protect rights of ethnic Russians in other nations.
One can only welcome the establishment of an institution to protect democratic rights. It might be helpful if Putin would create a branch office in Moscow to protect the rights of people in Russia. This is merely another clever device by a very clever man to divert attention from his own failures in supporting Russian democracy.