反プーチンデモ ロシアに「法の支配」が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 27, 2011)
Putin must commit fully to rule of law in Russia
反プーチンデモ ロシアに「法の支配」が必要だ(12月26日付・読売社説)

Mass rallies to protest the high-handed political tactics of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin illustrate public discontent with his long-standing grip on power.

It can be said that the contradictions plaguing Russia have come to the fore 20 years after the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Demonstrations began immediately after an election for the State Duma earlier this month, as protesters claimed there had been vote-rigging and called for the election to be held again. An image of alleged vote-rigging was posted on the Internet, igniting the rallies.

About 30,000 people gathered in Moscow alone Saturday, according to Russia's Interior Ministry. It was the biggest antigovernment rally of Putin's tenure, surpassing the one held Dec. 10. In addition to decrying the alleged election irregularities, the protesters openly called for an end to Putin's rule, shouting, "Russia without Putin."

During the 12 years of his grip on power as president and prime minister, Russian politics became relatively stable and its economy grew remarkably thanks to high crude oil prices.

The recent series of rallies, however, indicates the people's mounting dissatisfaction with Putin, who is aiming to prolong his rule by running in the presidential election next March.


Anger against corruption

It is noteworthy that many participants in the anti-Putin protests were middle-class and intellectual people whose situations improved due to the economic growth.

They may be prompted by their anger toward the little progress made in modernizing Russian politics. Their indignation is largely targeted at the rampant corruption in the bureaucratic machine, which has collusive ties with the ruling party.

The government made full use of TV media as a publicity tool to lead the campaign in favor of the ruling United Russia party. Lack of impartiality, a prerequisite for elections, spurred criticism of the administration.

Putin has refused demands to hold a new election. He is trying to get out of his present difficulties by pledging to take measures to prevent irregularities in the presidential election.

As no powerful candidate has emerged from the opposition camp, Putin's strategy for returning to the Kremlin remains unshaken.


Legal compliance vital

It is natural, however, that those in power must also comply with rules. Establishment of the full rule of law has been pending since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Putin needs to face seriously the problems raised by the series of rallies and commit himself completely to the rule of law.

Putin faces challenges on the diplomatic front, too.

He has put forth the idea of creating an "Eurasian Union" aimed at the economic integration of former Soviet republics. But these states have been deepening their relations with European countries and the United States, and remain strongly wary of Russia's attempt to take leadership.

After 18 years of negotiations, Russia will become an official member of the World Trade Organization next year. If it is to earnestly seek capital investment from the West, Moscow will be strongly urged to follow WTO rules and international business practices.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 26, 2011)
(2011年12月26日01時17分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2011-12-28 06:27 | 英字新聞

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