EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Are There Lessons to Be Learned for Russia From Tunisia?

Posted by Info on 30/01/2011

In Tunisia President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in power for 23 years, fled from the first popular uprising in an Arab country. They have also sparked debate and speculation in Russia on whether there could be lessons from Tunisia for Russia’s ruling tandem and the Russian opposition. Is the level of social and political discontent in Russia so high as to provoke an uprising?

Most observers in Moscow have focused on the factors that fueled the upheaval in Tunisia, which could be found in today’s Russia: widespread popular revulsion at the regime’s corruption; resentment at restrictions on political freedoms – media censorship and manipulated elections; large disparities in income levels; the narrowing of the ruling elite’s social foundations and widening fissures in the elite; the incompetence and brutality of the police, as well as the government’s mistakes, such as focusing too much on perceived but false threats (Islamic extremists in Tunisia, the radical liberals in Russia).

It is also interesting that the upheaval in distant Tunisia has been seized upon by members of president Medvedev’s inner circle to intensify their campaign against Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012.….

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