Wednesday, August 17, 2016

No Opposition

Link

[O]pposition members face massive restrictions in Russia, Caroline von Gall, a professor in Eastern European Law [..] "The climate is such that it is impossible for truly strong opposition parties to emerge," she said. Would-be opposition parties lack independent media to get their message across, as well as independent courts where they can fight for their rights.

One example is the anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny. The authorities refused to authorize his "Progress Party" and denied him his passive electoral rights based on previous convictions, which observers say were politically motivated.

When the European Court for Human Rights decided that passive electoral rights are valid even for people with previous convictions, the Russian constitutional court dissented. "This is an extreme case, because a deviation from the jurisprudence of the European Court for Human Rights is built into the Russian constitution," said von Gall. She says the Kremlin is using the case as a springboard to make the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights dependent on its own constitutional court. That court, however, is loyal to the Kremlin, even if it does sometimes deliver positive verdicts, making it "no guarantor of human rights."

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That is why the Russian economy is half the size of France's, and stuck in a rut, even with its massive size and human resources. There is a relationship between democracy and economic progress, and the relationship is not a mere correlation - it is causation.