Rybkin 'Best Speaker in the History of the Duma'
Interesting biography of the disappearing candidate.
"In his verbal attacks on President Vladimir Putin, stern-voiced presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin laces harsh rhetoric with poetry and flowery metaphors. But his oration skills are hardly an advantage when he is effectively banned from Russian radio and television.
The Central Elections Commission prohibited Rybkin last week from participating in televised debates via satellite from London, where he recently took refuge after a bizarre disappearance.
Rybkin, a leader of the Liberal Russia party, said in a telephone interview that ad agencies also have refused to produce radio and television advertisements for him because they fear retribution from authorities."
Indeed. In the meantime, a number of candidates are going to pull out of the election on the grounds that state and state-influenced media coverage, chicanery and the like have rendered the elections a joke. Sergei Dorenko holds that Russia under Vladimir Putin has become a neo-feudal state, with oligarchs and presidential governors playing the role of the barons. My own view was running along the lines of a shift from industrialised anarchy under Yeltsin to police democracy under Putin, but I feel that feudalism is probably a more useful description than any wibble about police democracy. Although fake democracy seems to be one of the main trends of our times, I think Dorenko is right that a form of modern feudalism suits the situation in Russia better. And that has some important implications:
"The middle class is the only section of the population capable of building the social institutions that Russia needs. Only the middle class is passionate enough in its desire to free itself from the yoke of the bureaucracy's feudal lords to mobilize the passive, abused masses. But the middle class is being led down a blind alley by a president who seems concerned with nothing but his own approval ratings."