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Russia A Giant Step Backward

Dev Murarka The controversy over the new, ironically titled law 'On freedom of conscience and on religious organisations' has exposed how intellectual and spiritual illiberalism and bigotry are growing by leaps and bounds in Russia.

Russia and China-A Hollow Alliance

A Hollow Alliance Dev Murarka Though certain geopolitical pressures have forced Russia and China to come closer, the hullabaloo surrounding the renewed cycle of Sino- Russian brotherhood runs the risk of underestimating their strained bilateral relations in the recent past. Significantly, the euphoria shows Russia in poor light, struggling to maintain its erstwhile status of a world power when day by day its power and prestige is diminishing.

RUSSIA-Winter Woes of Yeltsin

in these elections, but a new process has begun with very interesting implications. Mulayam Singh reflected both the class position and the short-sightedness of the socio-economic forces represented by him, perched between an attempt to gain access to the upper echelons of power and the desire to keep the lower classes at bay. His position remained midway between the BJP and the dalits a kulak leadership could have taken the dalits under its wings for a fight against, or an adjustment with, the upper classes. But this did not happen because of Mulayam Singh's short-sightedness and vacillations. But Mulayam Singh's vacillations, his antidemocratic acts and his anti-leftism and, at the same time, his failure to get accepted by the ruling classes reflect the failure of the kulaks to emerge as the ruling class, in political terms, in UP.

Yeltsin Inauguration in the Shadow of Death

Shadow of Death Dev Murarka THERE was something macabre and pathetic about the occasion. People were dying in tens and hundreds in Chechnya under the hail of mercjlcss Russian bombs released on his orders, and here was Boris Yeltsin, the re-elected Tsar of Russia, droning on about his constitutional duties. It was like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, except that it was not Moscow burning but distant Grozny, the Chechnya capital. The man with the fading health, who had broken virtually all his election promises, whose demise is being discussed in whispers behind his back by all his underlings and competitors, was undertaking yet more. His pledge to "respect and preserve the rights and freedom of the individual and the citizen" according to article 82 of the constitution, sounded not merely ironical but positively insulting in view of what was going on in Chechnya at that very minute.

RUSSIA- The Sixteenth Messidor of Boris Yeltsin

Though Lebed's rise has been spectacular, almost making Yeltsin appear as a nominal president, it is important to keep in view that this has taken place during a very specific and short period of 16-17 days, between two rounds of presidential elections when Yeltsin needed him badly. Whether this rise will continue after Yeltsin's impressive victory is far from certain.

RUSSIA-Lebed Overshadows Yeltsin Victory

Lebed Overshadows Yeltsin Victory Dev Murarka A curious sensation is beginning to take hold of the people: that Yeltsin is less important now because Lebed has almost taken oven And Lebed has begun with a bang and straightaway established his authority within and outside the presidential command. This cannot be altogether reassuring to Yeltsin.

RUSSIA-Twentieth Party Congress-Celebration, Indifference and Revilement

Twentieth Party Congress Celebration, Indifference and Revilement Dev Murarka The 40th anniversary of the Twentieth Party Congress was observed in Moscow and some other cities in Russia in February, though not in a manner worthy of its significance. There have been no reports of it being marked in the other territories of the former Soviet Union. This is not surprising, given the state of moral and intellectual decay into which contemporary Russia has fallen, not caring or wanting to know what its history of the Communist period is, not wanting to draw proper lessons from its failures and achievements. The supposedly resurgent Communists in Russia marked the occasion in their own way, by beginning a process of rehabilitation of Stalin and denouncing the Congress! The Genesis FORTY years ago, on February 25, 1956, an epoch-making event took place in Moscow. Us echoes may have died down but its consequences are still reverberating throughout the world, even if the occasion itself is only dimly remembered. Its chief organiser, Nikita Khrushchev, could have hardly foreseen the scale of the impact it was to make. This event was the 'secret' speech he made at a closed session only for the delegates to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), held from February 14 to 25, on 'The Cult of Personality and Its Consequences'. The content of the speech was singular, devoted to demystifying Josef Stalin, who had died in 1953, and expose the crimes and repressions committed by him and under his guidance. It was the beginning of the end of the worldwide Stalinist style communist movement, in the Soviet Union above all, as an idedlogical and moral force in politics, a process still going on after four decades and far from completer The 40th anniversary of the Congress was marked in Moscow, and some other cities in Russia in February this year, though not on any grand scale, not in a unified way and not always in a manner worthy of its significance. There have been no reports of it being marked in other territories of the former Soviet Union. This is not surprising, given the state of moral and intellectual decay in which contemporary Russia has fallen, not caring or wanting to know what its history of the communist period is, not wanting to draw proper lessons from its failures and achievements. Also because the Soviet Union, too, has passed into history. Most people have forgotten the occasion, above all the new born, largely ignorant 'democrats' who owe their very existence to the processes started at the Congress.

Russian Elections No Exit from the Labyrinth

The elections to the Russian State Duma, scheduled for December 17, will not mean very much. The Duma is an institution pre-castrated by the constitution. It is powerless to do anything legally or constitutionally against the whims and will of the president. These in-built weaknesses have been made worse by the behaviour of some groups and individual members of the present Duma, who have done their best to discredit the institution.

Zhirinovsky and the Autumn of the Patriarch

The really disturbing aspect of the political situation in Russia is the absence of any worthwhile institution-building, any serious promotion of the concept of a law-governed state. Though the ideal of democracy is proclaimed by everyone on the political stage, not only is their understanding of what they mean by democracy confused and primitive, they invariably view their opponents as no less than enemies. The roots of the tragic events of October 1993 were precisely in the approach that an opponent is not only an opponent but a mortal enemy.

Religion in Russia Today-Renewal and Conflict

Renewal and Conflict Dev Murarka A new era for the Church began with Mikhail Gorbachev and the move towards democratic practices in Russia under the impulse of glasnost and perestroika. With it commenced the process of restoration of the freedom of the Church, cults and sects and restitution of property. Seemingly, nothing now stands in the way of the Church and other religions to grow and prevail in national life. But things are not so simple. An evaluation of the religious situation in Russia.
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