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Havel on Russia: ‘There can be no talk of democracy…’

by TOM JONES [Czech Position/Česká pozice] – The morning after Czech President Václav Klaus declined to comment on the post-election situation in Russia during his Russian counterpart’s visit to Prague, an appeal to Russian citizens and the country’s opposition movements by Václav Havel, the first post-communist Czech president, was published in the independent Russian newspaper Novaya gazeta.

Havel has described the current Russian regime as the harshest of all known forms of post-communist political systems, calling it a “specific combination of old stereo types and a new business-mafia environment.” He views the current developments in Russia as resembling more the events in the communist bloc in 1989–1990, than the Arab Spring, and says the most important thing now is to convince Russia’s citizens that the current regime, which presents itself as democratic, is in fact not democratic at all.

‘There can be no talk of democracy as long as the leaders of the state insult the dignity of citizens, control the judiciary, the mass media and manipulate election results’“There can be no talk of democracy as long as the leaders of the state insult the dignity of citizens, control the judiciary, the mass media and manipulate election results,” Havel wrote in Novaya gazeta, which has seen at least seven of its journalists and contributors killed since 2001, including Anna Politkovskaya and Anastasia Baburova.

Continued at Czech Position/Česká pozice | Václav Havel obituary by Peter Popham in The Independent | More Chronicle & Notices.

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