Sir: Most press and television reports on the Communist Party's electoral triumph in Russia have amounted to an exercise in sour grapes; the favoured reformers came a cropper, the much touted Lebed got nowhere, the hated Reds came top. Alas your own approach has differed little from the rest of the pack.
Had the result gone the reformers' way, it would have been applauded as a victory for common sense and a signal of a mass ideological conversion to the virtues of the free market. Instead, it has been almost universally reported negatively, characterised as a mistake, a protest vote, a final bout of nostalgia for the old "Brezhnev stagnation era".
The general impression conveyed is that the Russian electorate, still immature, did not really know what it was doing; but how can it be that comfortable Western journalists know better?
Russia's choice was Communist. It appears that the party was believed when it described as "deforms" the reforms that so obsess Western commentators. After a taste of capitalism, is it so strange that the average Russian citizen does not like it: the joblessness, poverty, vast social inequalities, corruption, crime, violence, prostitution, national humiliation?
Russians are not used to these things. Perhaps it is simply that they are not as "realistic" as we in the West.
21 DecemberReuse content