Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sovereign democracy, a new paradigm proposed by Russian professor

The Washington Post today (Oct. 31, 2007) included a paid advertising supplement from Russia, called "Kremlin Kiss-In".

There is an interesting essay on p H4 by Leonid Pokykarov, professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. It is called “Sovereign Democracy as a Concept for Russia.” The term “democratic capitalism” is tossed around in the United States by neoconservatives as a prescription for the Middle East, and Pokykarov is hinting at the idea, already discussed earlier by Robert Reich, that democracy and capitalism can be somewhat antagonistic concepts. Instead he associates populist democracy with nationalism and sovereignty, and considers it ("sovereign democracy") a practical and political luxury that only 12 to 15 nations around the world can afford. He would view the members of the European Union as having given up “sovereignty” (except maybe Britain). Likewise, after the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, the proposed “Commonwealth of Independent States” fell apart quickly, and worked out as well as the American Articles of Confederation in the 18th Century. He would seem to have some faith in Putin’s idea of “sovereign democracy” despite the progressive challenges of chess champion Garry Kasparov, and the rise of various extremist nationalist groups in Russia that could be seen as destabilizing and dangerous. He believes that large powers like the U.S. should be pragmatic in addressing problems in other countries (obviously Iraq) and not insist on the ideology of "democracy" until it at least recognizes the right of people to their own national identity and sovereignty.

Page J5 has an article by Alexander Yakovenko on global warming, “The Basic Principles of the Russian Approach,” which seem pretty generic. The underlying conflict will be between well developed consumer countries (the US and Europe) and developing countries (China) counted on for cheap labor.

Update: Nov. 14, 2007

The Washington Post has a second paid insert from Russia today. On page H5 there is a provocative article about life in Siberia, "Grandpa: All You Need is Love ... and Perhaps a Little Bit of Land," by Marina Kkariss. The article presents the shrinking population in the immense countryside as a threat to national sovereignty for Russia (which could break up into its autonomous regions). There is pressure that every household have "at least three children." The article discusses an elderly man who has a son with 12 children and a daughter with 12 children. There is emphasis placed on working the land and on sharing of chores among siblings, and on blood loyalty as a whole.

Philip Longman had discussed the problem of shrinking birthrates in many countries in his 2004 book "The Empty Cradle."

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