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Friday, October 17, 2003

Russia Needs the Rule of Law

An article by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation in The Washington Dispatch reports that the Communist Party is growing again in Russia. Specifically, he says, last year 18,000 new recruits joined, 80 percent of whom are under 40 years of age.

Most noteworthy, the "reasons given were to 'protest current conditions' and because of their 'dislike of [Vladimir] Putin and Company.'"

This is worrisome because, in historical terms, there may be only a short window to convince the Russian people that democratic capitalism is their best option. No one denies that cleaning up after communism, especially economically, is difficult and can't be done overnight. But Russia needs leadership that -- in its words and especially its actions -- models the best of what democratic capitalism can be.

Think of Konrad Adenauer, who helped turn West Germany into an economic powerhouse after World War II, and reconcilled with Germany's neighbors to the point that Germany was allowed not only to re-arm, but to join NATO as well. Or George Washington, who could have become a King (or at the very least run for a third term), but chose instead to teach his people about a new way of thinking about political leadership.

No one can seriously say that the challenges facing Vladimir Putin aren't daunting, but he sought the job. Putin needs to do a great deal more to show his people that the rule of law has been fairly and objectively established in Russia. Until he or another Russian leader does that, Russia will not meet its economic goals nor will it establish a stable democracy where human and civil rights are the norm.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:40 PM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research