Do Russia’s size, political culture and distrust of the Western world make it unsuitable for democracy? Absolutely not, says Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the founder of Open Russia, a movement committed to promoting democratic rule in Russia.
I reject the fallacy that Russians are somehow incapable of building democratic institutions. People said the same thing about the Germans. How wrong they were. Countries and their citizens do change, usually in response to their own failures, he writes for the New York Times:
The majority of Russians have never experienced democratic institutions and don’t understand how they function. But Russians who have moved to the West have adapted quickly and easily to democratic conditions. They see how democracy protects individual rights and property, and allows societies to flourish.
Despite an insufficient understanding of democratic practices, Russia today has tens of thousands of civic organizations defending civil rights. A 2012 survey from the Pew Research Center showed that a majority of Russians support honest elections and a fair judiciary. The Russian people want their voices heard and their leaders held accountable: They want a different political system.
The National Endowment for Democracy, the Free Russia Foundation, and the Institute for Modern Russia invite you to a discussion on
Personal Lawyer, Family of Boris Nemtsov
Vice Chairman, Open Russia
President, Free Russia Foundation
Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy
and moderated by
President, National Endowment for Democracy
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Washington DC, 20515
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