Is Russian democracy changing?
Twenty years ago, on 25th December 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the president of the Soviet Union, bringing an end to the communist regime.
On Saturday organisers of a rally calling on Putin to go say that 120,000 people were present in Moscow with many thousands more in eighty other cities across the Russian Federation. Officials say that only 29,000 attended.
Speaking on radio yesterday, twenty years after his own resignation, Mikhail Gorbachev called on Vladimir Putin to step down to protect the legacy of his twelve years in power.
Putin is unlikely to follow Gorbachev’s advice, but the 4th March 2012 presidential election looks set to start a radical change in Russian democracy. The growing middle classes in Russia have experienced success and increasing wealth in the past 12 years, now they want respect and an end to government corruption and fixed elections.
The contrast with twenty years ago may be less dramatic but just as important as we go into another year where worldwide political change is likely.