The Regression of Human Rights Under the Putin Administration Russia

Essay by connortistCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2009

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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...