Russia is not a Western-style democracy and probably never will be.
However, all talk about democracy being in retreat here is laughable, if not pathetic.
By Edward Lozansky
Edward Lozansky is President of the American University in Moscow
Эдуард Лозанский вспоминает когда Ходор и иже с ним были "вершителями судеб":
...To prove my point let me tell you a little story. During the 1996 Russian presidential campaign I was involved in the organization of Vice President Dan Quayle’s visit to Moscow. It was Quayle’s first trip to Russia and he wanted to meet with presidential candidates and other movers and shakers. One such meeting was with none other than Mikhail Khodorkovsky, at that time head of Menatep Bank.
The meeting took place in his elegant office on Kolpachny Pereulok, former headquarters of the Young Communist League – his former employer. During this meeting Mikhail took a couple of phone calls. He apologized for interrupting our conversation but the urgency of the calls was obvious. Together with a few other bankers, Khodorkovsky was deciding who would be the next man in the Kremlin. Yeltsin popularity rating hovered around two percent at that time, but it did not matter since the two major TV channels were in the hands of two oligarchs, Gusinsky and Berezovsky, and they felt confident that these ratings could be changed fast. “We will offer Communist leader Zyuganov the prime-minister’s seat if he behaves properly,” Misha assured us before excusing himself and rushing off to another meeting, apparently to seal the election results to be held in a few months.