Johan Norberg provides some depressing information about the situation in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, Alexander Voloshin, is said to have resigned. This is another sign that the so called power clan, “siloviki”, with its base in the FSB (former KGB) is strengthening its grips on power, and that both the liberal economists and the allies with former President Yeltsin are losing out. This is bad news for Russia. It all began with the brutal arrest of the oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky this Saturday. The difference between Khodorkovsky and other oligarchs is not that he is more corrupt or unscrupulous, on the contrary, his oil company Yukos is renowned for being relatively transparent and law-abiding for a Russian company. The difference is that he has challenged Putin by supporting democratic forces, like the parties Yabloko and SPS. Before the arrest FSB also made a raid on Yabloko’s headquarters and stole their servers with their planning for the parliamentary election on December 7th. First the destruction of the free media in Russia and now this. It is no longer possible to call Putin’s Russia a democracy. It is more like a “democtorship” (“demokratur”), as the Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg once called a dictatorship with democratic rituals….
Addendum: More on the rise of the siloviki.