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Thread: Is Russia a democracy? Плюс то же о некоторых других странах

  1. #21
    Почтенный гражданин UhOhXplode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    I will try to keep the position of the vector, the question was probably too simple, cos I am interested in what people think (mostly what non-Russians think, as I can generally anticipate what Russians could say): Do you think that Russia's democracy or not? - that's the implication...
    Yes, Russia is a democracy. Russia has fair elections and the government listens to the people. In the US, if we don't like what the government is doing then we can protest and sign petitions. The same is true in Russia. In the US, we have left and right wing media. The same is true in Russia. In the US, people can tell the government what to do and they listen. The same is true in Russia.

    Some examples of "listening to the people":
    When people in the US wanted the gays to have rights, the government gave them rights.
    When people in Russia didn't want kids exposed to gay propaganda, the government passed a law to stop it. Why? Because the majority of the people didn't want that to be happening. The majority of the people is what democracy is all about.

    I believe that if I was living in Russia right now, I would feel just as free and democratic as I feel living in the US. And I wouldn't have to face-palm when the president made a speech, lol.
    A lot of people in the US argue that since gays don't have rights in Russia, then Russia isn't a democracy. That's not true. A lot of people in the US want pot to be legal and it's not. Does that mean that the US isn't a democracy?
    If Russia isn't a democracy because of the gay issue, then the US isn't a democracy because of the pot issue.

    People can argue all day about it but in the end, the US and Russia are both democracies.

    But I also have 2 more questions.
    1. Was the USSR a democracy?
    I read a lot of the history about that. The people of Russia wanted to break away from the Tsars and build a form of government that would listen to the people and help them. It was called communism but it was a form of government that was created by the people. So maybe that was a type of democracy too. The Russian Federation is more democratic since it has free elections but I think any government that's created by the people, is still a type of democratic process.
    Anyway, I'm really impressed with how democratic Russia is and I think we could learn a lot from President Putin. But don't forget, Russia has more than 1,000 years of experience. We only have about 200 and we're on a steep learning curve.

    2. Is democracy important?
    Well, if you look at US democracy, what do you see? I see a lot of freedom, security, and a happy life. I see friendly and helpful police who never harass me and a safe neighborhood. That's all I saw till I started reading the news feeds online.
    Now what I see is really changing up how I feel about everything. I see police brutality, flash mobs, lots of people being killed without a good reason, economic disasters, a president that makes all the worst decisions, and tons of wars to protect National interests.
    Okay, a dude at another forum calls me "rediculously sheltered". But that still doesn't explain why all that stuff is happening and why our National interests have to kill tons of people in countries all over the whole planet. I mean, if that's what democracy is all about then maybe it's not really that special!

    So yeah, Russia is a democracy but it's tons more peaceful than American democracy. And President Putin is a democratic president but he's tons more intelligent than President Obama. Imo, we would have a better democracy if we had someone like President Putin in the White House.

  2. #22
    Почётный участник eisenherz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UhOhXplode View Post
    But I also have 2 more questions.
    1. Was the USSR a democracy?
    No. It was not. When the will of the people is hijacked and dominated by a few (or one party) and the application of law becomes arbitrary (no separation of powers) you do not have a functioning democracy. The happenings of the years 1925 - 1939 in particular illustrate that. Otherwise Maximilian Robespierre and his Jakobiners could equally claim to be operating in a democracy by argument of the preceeding events to get rid of the french monarch was an act of the will of the people.
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    please always correct my (often poor) russian

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Вот, что бы для меня было главным, если судить о демократии:

    "Говорят, что об уровне цивилизованности общества можно судить по тому, как в нем относятся к детям и старикам. Именно сохранением этих ценностей, а не материально-техническим оснащением определяется будущее того или иного государства. Сегодня эта идиома несколько устарела и нуждается в дополнении. Потому как не только старики и дети нуждаются в особом отношении, но и еще одна многочисленная категория населения — инвалиды. ..."

    Инвалиды никому не нужны?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    ...and widespread contempt for democracy, that seems to exist in Russia...
    Да, у нас есть презрение к демократии. Но я бы обобщил: у нас есть презрение, нигилизм, отрицание к любому предложению, к любому инструменту, к любому способу организации чего-либо.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    So Russia is not alone and there is no need to judge yourself harshly about it.
    Ханна, спасибо на добром слове. У меня такое ощущение, что шведы - наши люди.
    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    При этом должна быть политическая борьба между ними (т.е. считаем, что борьба между партиями не приравнивается борьбе сильного со слабым в природе).
    Но такая система (в основе которой лежит борьба) имеет недостатки:
    - на борьбу тратятся энергия и время.
    - борьба не исключает, а даже подразумевает ложь и прочие нечестные приёмы.
    - борьба приводи к компромиссам и половинчатым решениям, что снижает эффективность управления.
    - борьба выносит наверх карьеристов, а не созидателей.
    - борьба может уничтожить общество (революция и гражданская война).
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    When talking about democracy, the two decisive factors to me are:

    - lack of absolute power within limited groups of people; the more people taking part in making important decisions, the better; it's not by a long shot democracy when there's a "tsar"/"emperor"/"president" (whatever you call it) who's making all the decisions and to whose will everyone's serving; it's not democracy either when there's a parliament whose representatives mostly belong to one party, and all they do is sign off whatever their bosses decide; so here - a real multi-partial system and a lot of people involved in long discussions before any important law comes out, and not a one limited group being able to get any decision passed that only they would benefit from; no need to mention, not a single man having any hypothetical power at all;

    - the interests of an individual being superior to the interests of "society"; overall, when someone talks about "the interests of society", I think they're being hypocritical, because there's no society other than that consisting of individuals; if you want to make society happy - make every individual happy, that's it; in my view, any application of collectivism is incompatible with democracy, because it says everyone has to be unhappy so that the "group"/"society" etc. on the whole will be happy; but that's nothing but an oxymoron.

    So, looking at Russia, I think it certainly has made big progress building up democracy compared to what it looked like 30-40 years ago, but I have to say there are still tons of work in that direction. One negative side in my opinion is, it seems the quest for democracy slowed down a bit at the beginning of the 2000s. But I guess everything's in the hands of Russians, we have yet to see them notice what way they had taken, and turn up to the right one.
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by UhOhXplode View Post
    Russia has fair elections and the government listens to the people.
    Xplode, many people doubt that the elections here are fair (the results might be real, but the way the election is organized is more than strange: usually there is just one candidate who has a real political 'value'). There is really a huge doubt both domestically and abroad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post

    - the interests of an individual being superior to the interests of "society"
    it's an interesting point. I'd like to add here that it's impossible to satisfy ALL the people. So there is always some percentage who are not satisfied. And this situation is quite natural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    Но такая система (в основе которой лежит борьба) имеет недостатки:
    - на борьбу траится энергия и время.
    - борьба не исключает, а даже подразумевает ложь и прочие нечестные приёмы.
    - борьба приводи к компромиссам и половинчатым решениям, что снижает эффективность управления.
    - борьба выносит на верх карьеристов, а не созидателей.
    - борьба может уничтожить общество (революция и гражданская война).
    Имеется в виду борьба интересов в политике, а не физическая борьба при революции. Которая не приводит к уничтожению или унижению кого-либо. Например, такая борьба, при которой возможно было бы не расстреливать побеждённую сторону или тех, кто её символизирует (царя, его детей).

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    Почётный участник Lady Maria's Avatar
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    Democracy means the rule, or power, of [the majority of] people. It's neither more nor less than a dictatorship of the majority, or the "mob".

    Given 20th and 21st-century political developments, I do not hold "democracies" in high regard, and sincerely hope that Russia is not one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post

    и максимально непосредственным доступом граждан к принятию решений на уровне всего общества или государства.
    Предполагаем, что доступ к принятию решений на уровне государства является ОПОСРЕДОВАННЫМ через выбранных представителей.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I would hold up SWITZERLAND as a country that is very close to the democratic ideal. If you are interested, I can explain why. It is probably the most "democratic" country in Europe, at least, for a number of reasons.
    Thanks for the offer, Hanna. Please explain why this country if you can.

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    Завсегдатай Antonio1986's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Khomitchuk View Post
    The first question is what is DEMOCRACY?
    The word democracy, is of course Greek as the concept of democracy (of course women, poor people and slaves didn't have the right to vote then ), and derives from the words = Δήμος (demos) + Κρατεί (kratei). "Demos" means people and "kratei" means rule, so it is the political system that people rule. On this initial definition in ancient Greece all the decisions were taken with consensus (i.e. the 100% of all residents of Athens should agree in order for a decision to be made, at that time about 5,000 people!). Based on this definition no country has a real democracy. Because consensus is impossible to achieved all the time the system of majority was introduced again for the first time in Greece. Putin if I am correct is now the majority in Russia, so democracy based on the definition of majority works in Russian. However, based on John Stuart Mill, who is the father of political liberalism, the majority should never depress the minorities ("tyranny of the majority"). Based on the second definition Russia is one of the most failed democracies on planet (... you don't want me to mention examples). In contemporary Greece we have a different problem now "tyranny of the minority" where few leftist groups block any attempt of reformation.
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    Чем больше слов, тем меньше они стоят.

  13. #33
    Почётный участник Lady Maria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio1986 View Post
    The word democracy, is of course Greek as the concept of democracy (of course women, poor people and slaves didn't have the right to vote then ), and derives from the words = Δήμος (demos) + Κρατεί (kratei). "Demos" means people and "kratei" means rule, so it is the political system that people rule. On this initial definition in ancient Greece all the decisions were taken with consensus (i.e. the 100% of all residents of Athens should agree in order for a decision to be made, at that time about 5,000 people!). Based on this definition no country has a real democracy. Because consensus is impossible to achieved all the time the system of majority was introduced again for the first time in Greece. Putin if I am correct is now the majority in Russia, so democracy based on the definition of majority works in Russian. However, based on John Stuart Mill, who is the father of political liberalism, the majority should never depress the minorities ("tyranny of the majority"). Based on the second definition Russia is one of the most failed democracies on planet (... you don't want me to mention examples). In contemporary Greece we have a different problem now "tyranny of the minority" where few leftist groups block any attempt of reformation.
    Endorsed.

    Now I'd like to know which democracy isn't a failed one. They all fall short of their idealistic mission, don't they?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Maria View Post
    Endorsed.

    Now I'd like to know which democracy isn't a failed one. They all fall short of their idealistic mission, don't they?
    In the majority of social science departments of universities of Europe the "model of Scandinavian countries" is taught as that which is more closed to what we call "functional, prosperus and liberal democracy". The universities of USA I am sure that they promote the political system USA as the most successful democracy, because of the system of "checks and balances*" (the French philosopher Voltaire will certainly agree that USA has one of the most rightful democracies based on this criterion). My personal opinion and I think that majority of the social scientists will agree is that education and active political participation are the two factors than can ensure the proper functionality of a real democracy.

    * The denial of the Parliament of USA (Congress) to approve the budget is one good recent example
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    Talking about the Soviet Union one should clearly understand that its state structure wasn't invariable throughout the Soviet period. Mainly there were two long periods: the first, dating from the middle of the 20's till 1953 was a period of the Stalin's cult of personality and the second from that date up to the break-down in 1991 was a period of "partocracy" or the rule of the Communist Party beurocracy.
    Another thing one should clearly understand is that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was not a usual political party, it was a huge political and economic organization which had penetrated all and every living cell of the Soviet society. Every labour collective in the Soviet Union had its own party cell. Every district of a city, every city, every region of the country, every republic had their party organizations. It was almost impossible to make a career for those who were not members of the party. So every key position in the society were occupied by communists. The communists in the local organizations or in labour collective organizations were actually quite ordinary people, they didn't differ from their co-workers or neighbors. The question is: "was there inner-party democracy or not?" I think, yes, there was some inner-party democracy although there was a strict party discipline.
    So, when you ask, was there democracy in the Soviet Union, I say, yes, in the last 3 or 4 decades of its history there was a sort of democracy, but it was not a representative democracy usual for the West, it was a democracy for the most active layer of population connected however to all other people.
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  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampada View Post
    Вот, что бы для меня было главным, если судить о демократии:

    "Говорят, что об уровне цивилизованности общества можно судить по тому, как в нем относятся к детям и старикам. Именно сохранением этих ценностей, а не материально-техническим оснащением определяется будущее того или иного государства. Сегодня эта идиома несколько устарела и нуждается в дополнении. Потому как не только старики и дети нуждаются в особом отношении, но и еще одна многочисленная категория населения — инвалиды. ..."

    Инвалиды никому не нужны?

    I totally agree with Lampada. The best definition of what's a decent society, is in how it treats the weekest members of that society.
    The elderly, the sick, the disabled, the pregnant, the new mothers/single mothers, minority groups etc.

    What killed my childhood belief in socialism, was seeing on TV, in the 90s, how retarded and handicapped people were treated in some socialist countries.
    Obviously, the same thing kills anyone's faith in capitalism - since the treatment is directly related to how much money the handicapped person's family is able and willing to spend on his care.

    Democracy is an abstract, subjective and much abused concept.

    The proof is in the pudding as we say in England. It's not how you vote -- it's whether you can sleep safely at night, knowing you will have somewhere to live, heat, water, food, an education, healthcare as needed and that you can walk safely without fear of being attacked, and be safe in your home. Also that you can sleep soundly, knowing that you will not be visited in the middle of the night by some state security agent because you said the wrong thing to the wrong person - and that there is a unbiased process to follow, should you be accused of a crime.

    Another threat to democracy is media. The owners of mass media channels has the power to affect what the majority thinks.
    If all media is privately owned and controlled, it's an enemy of democracy, since it will consciously or unconsciously support the objective of its wealthy owners, with the means to distribute and promote itself and win over any grassroots publication by regular citizens.
    If all media is tightly controlled by the state, there is a risk that criticism is stifled and nobody watches the leaders on behalf of the people.
    Some kind of blend, or state subsidies to citizen driven media is needed - or as in our age; access to free and uncensored internet.


    On SWISS democracy, in response to Alex' question:


    They have a system called "Direct Democracy" Direct democracy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Direct democracy (also known as pure democracy)[1] is a form of democracy in which people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on, etc.) policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then decide policy initiatives.[2] Depending on the particular system in use, it might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.
    As a result, the country is set up like people want it, and people have their say about practical matters, like "Should there be a road here?", "Who should be allowed to immigrate to our country?", "Are companies allowed to do xyz?" If enough people support it, they will have a referendum about anything. Too much lobbying about a certain position is not allowed - people are supposed to make up their minds based on facts and their personal feeling, not some ad campaign.

    The job of the government is just to mildly steer things, and implement the results of the people's votes.

    They also have a lot of LOCAL democracy, in that people can control what's going to happen in their immediate surroundings, such as what types of schools should be available and how much spending they think public transport needs.

    And isn't it interesting that this most democratic country is also the richest in Europe, despite having NO coast, no oil or significant natural resources, and also being split into 3 different language groups, yet never having quarrels about it. They also never participate in wars, instigate them, and manage to keep at peace with everyone.
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    Почётный участник Lady Maria's Avatar
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    And they're also a tax haven.

  18. #38
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    Нормального обсуждения так и не получилось (что закономерно, поскольку я их видел миллион раз).
    Смешали в кучу всё: демократию, какие-то "цивилизованные общества", инвалидов, society vs. hypocritical immoral individual и т.д.
    Какое отношение это имеет у предмету обсуждения? Никакого.

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    Почтенный гражданин UhOhXplode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SergeMak View Post
    Talking about the Soviet Union one should clearly understand that its state structure wasn't invariable throughout the Soviet period. Mainly there were two long periods: the first, dating from the middle of the 20's till 1953 was a period of the Stalin's cult of personality and the second from that date up to the break-down in 1991 was a period of "partocracy" or the rule of the Communist Party beurocracy.
    Another thing one should clearly understand is that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was not a usual political party, it was a huge political and economic organization which had penetrated all and every living cell of the Soviet society. Every labour collective in the Soviet Union had its own party cell. Every district of a city, every city, every region of the country, every republic had their party organizations. It was almost impossible to make a career for those who were not members of the party. So every key position in the society were occupied by communists. The communists in the local organizations or in labour collective organizations were actually quite ordinary people, they didn't differ from their co-workers or neighbors. The question is: "was there inner-party democracy or not?" I think, yes, there was some inner-party democracy although there was a strict party discipline.
    So, when you ask, was there democracy in the Soviet Union, I say, yes, in the last 3 or 4 decades of its history there was a sort of democracy, but it was not a representative democracy usual for the West, it was a democracy for the most active layer of population connected however to all other people.
    Thanks for that information. I didn't understand Russian history as well as I thought I did.

    But I still don't get that it's very important for a country to be a democracy. Lots of countries have democracies and they still have serious issues and make wars. And like Yuri said, when 2 or more parties are always fighting to be in control then there's a lot of wasted time and energy. Also it can cause corruption when corporations are supporting those fights. But I do like the kind of democracy in Switzerland that Hanna posted about. That's really cool!
    The only important thing is for Russia (and any other country) to have a government that cares about the people and listens.

  20. #40
    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
    Нормального обсуждения так и не получилось (что закономерно, поскольку я их видел миллион раз).
    Смешали в кучу всё: демократию, какие-то "цивилизованные общества", инвалидов, society vs. hypocritical immoral individual и т.д.
    Какое отношение это имеет у предмету обсуждения? Никакого.
    Солнышко, Павлик, не оставь в темноте народ, просвети! Я серьёзно: хорош плеваться, расскажи, чего набрался из всех этих обсуждений такое, что здесь все упустили. Уважь народ, а?
    А пока, если что-то по твоему мнению не имеет отношения к предмету обсуждения, то ничего страшного, потому что читать интересно тем не менее.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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