Feature

Russia: Is this the dawning of Glasnost II?

It reminds me of Glasnost in the late 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev decided to “throw the intellectuals a bone” by allowing some criticism of Soviet authorities, said Stanislav Belkovsky in Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Stanislav Belkovsky
Moskovsky Komsomolets

To read the papers these days, you’d almost think Russia was a real democracy with a free press, said Stanislav Belkovsky. “The fortress wall of self-censorship, if it has not collapsed, has at least cracked.” The police, security, and intelligence agencies, previously described as “the honor and conscience of Russia,” are now “being whacked from every nook and cranny.” Exposés of police corruption are on every TV news show. The intelligence agencies have been mocked for incompetence over the busted spy ring in the U.S. And the analysts, “usually the biggest toadies of all,” have begun saying the Kremlin will have to do more to help ordinary Russians.

It reminds me of Glasnost in the late 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev decided to “throw the intellectuals a bone” by allowing some criticism of Soviet authorities. The aim was not to encourage openness or real dissent, but to manage public discontent by giving it an approved outlet. But Glasnost spread out of control—and we all know how that ended. “Will the same thing happen this time, too?”

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