The Regression Of Human Rights Under The Putin Administration Russia

1713 words - 7 pages

The Regression of Human Rights Under the Putin AdministrationFollowing the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were many changes enacted to the Russian government that sought to reform (over time) the former Communist Soviet nation into an idyllic picture of Western Democracy. By the turn of the century Russia was beginning to demonstrate several signs that hinted at a healthy democracy were beginning to emerge. These signs included such promising practices as the public debate of policy issues, a healthy competition of political parties, a variety of opinions presented by the media, a strong community of regional governors, and an expanding community of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) (Russia 2005). Although many of these political institutions and their leaders were in need of some work, Russia seemed to be on the right track towards overall democratization. However, all of this positive progress witnessed in the 1990's has regressed quickly over the past 8 years, with the leadership of President Vladimir Putin to blame. By strengthening and centralizing the power of both himself and governmental institutions, Putin was able to garner a great deal of control over many aspects of society. Putin's Russia has evolved into an authoritarian state in which public debate on key political issues has disappeared and the once healthy multi party system is almost totally obliterated, replaced with the pro-presidential United Russia party, which controls more than two-thirds of all seats in the State Duma (Russia 2005). These changes have had not only a dramatic effect on the democratic integrity of the country, but have also greatly injured the human rights of the people. Despite claming democratic aims, Putin has continually supported measures that have contradicted these claims, thus masking his blatant authoritarian aims in a "veneer of democracy" that has allowed the former president to slowly degrade the rights of his people while remaining a positive character in the eyes of those at home and abroad (Mendelson 2002). By analyzing how Putin has abused his position of power one is able to better acknowledge the infringements on the human rights of the Russian people and how the election of the country's new president Dmitry Medvedev is likely to change the lives of the men and women of the Putin era. There are several ways in which this regression of human rights has manifested itself in Russian society. Of particular importance is the way in which the media was stringently controlled and manipulated by Putin and privileged state sponsored political parties (Zibigniew 2008). Putin's impact on media was almost absolute, placing all television and radio stations, along with all printed media, under strict Kremlin control. This control has not only had an enormous impact on the social rights of the people (limiting free speech, freedom of the press), but has also kindled the corruption that plagues Russia by severely limiting, and sometimes even...

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