Friday, June 09, 2006

Putin and dwindling democracy in Russia

I have a bad feeling about this. First, a passage on Augustus:
On that day, Octavian entered the senate and, to the shock of those not in the know, surrendered his position and retired to private life. The senators, possibly confused, reacted with indignance and insisted that Octavian remain at the helm of the state. After a show of reluctance, Octavian graciously accepted a share in the running of the state, gaining command of Spain (except Baetica), Gaul, Syria, Cyprus, and Egypt while the senate and people kept the rest. Within his extended provincia, granted for ten years, Octavian could appoint legates to administer regions on his behalf.
The Times of London:
KREMLIN hardliners pushing for President Putin to serve a third term have been given a significant boost by an opinion poll indicating that 59 per cent of the population would support such a move.

Mr Putin, who took power in 2000, has promised to step down before the next presidential election, in 2008, because the Russian Constitution does not allow anyone to serve more than two consecutive four-year terms.

However, none of the potential successors identified so far has the popular appeal of Mr Putin, whose sobriety and steely manner have consistently won him approval ratings of higher than 70 per cent. And the Kremlin controls more than the two-thirds majority in the Duma needed to amend the Constitution to allow Mr Putin, 53, to stand for a third term. The poll by the respected Levada Centre suggested that 59 per cent would support that move, compared with 44 per cent last September.
Also from today's Philadelphia Inquirer: "As Putin hails press freedom, some gag"


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