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Gianna Rocca

Block 2
Project II- Part II
Is Russia truly democratic today or is it still an authoritarian state?
I believe freedom of press, right to be free from torture and punishment, and freedom of
fair elections are topics that represent a continuation of a previous Russian era. Despite
the slight changes in Russian government and society over the decades, absolute rulers,
czars, and the Soviet Union still have a significant influence on present day Russia.
Because of this, contemporary Russia has an authoritarian political system but with the
exclusion of communism. Russia claims itself as democratic although if democracy
in Russia was compared to democracy in America, it would be observed that Russias
political system is not a democracy that it claims to have. Despite how Russia probably
experienced its highest level of democratic freedom in 1991, when it was still part of the
Soviet Union, I believe that Russia is more of an authoritarian state today rather than a
democratic state.
Throughout the decades, human rights were an issue in Russia that is yet to be solved
today. For an example, when Soviet Joseph Stalin was leader of Russia, he pursued the
method of propaganda and censorship. This method was utilized by totalitarian states to
spread propaganda, biased or incomplete information used to sway people to accept
certain beliefs or actions. Censorship has existed in Russia since Frederick the Great was
the King of Prussia! After seven decades of Soviet authoritarian rule, free media became
a negative issue once more when the media was used to rally support for Yeltsins
reelection in 1996. President Vladimir Putin subsequently pushed out the independentminded media owners in 2000.
To continue, the era of absolute rulers in Russia consisted of torture and capital
punishment. In fact, torture goes a long way back in Russias early history. From 17291796, Catherine II, or Catherine the Great, did little to improve the lives of peasants.
Catherine let the serfs suffer under terrible conditions and even let the serfs lose all traces
of freedom. Even today the nation has repeatedly received recommendations from the
worlds community, concerning eradication of torture.
Overall, freedom of fair elections has been a vital and continuous problem in Russia.
Likewise, elections were not to even be considered by the minds of citizens in the early
days of Russia, especially during the Soviet era. Autocracy was a tradition in Russia that
was continued by the Nicolas II when he became czar in 1984. Subsequently, Russian
Marxists split into two groups of revolutionary tactics eventually leading to the civil war
that raged in Russia between the Red and White Army. Following this event, the Soviet

Union was born and later Joseph Stalin possessed total command of Russia as well as
absolute power as a dictator. Since then, elections were not part of the question, more so
because of the tradition of autocracy and Russian monarchy. In comparison to present day
Russia, the freedom of fair elections is still an issue. Likewise, Russian citizens believed
the Putin appointed himself as president of Russia and believed that the presidential
election was rigged. In addition, Putin even abolished elections for regional governors in
2004.
After all, Russia truly appears to be an authoritarian state of which claims to be
democratic.