Here is Russian journalist Yulia Latynina on sunday's elections in Russia and Spain, both of which she finds troubling, albeit for different reasons. First Spain:
The strategy unveiled by al-Qaida in Spain was as innovative as its destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. In New York and Washington, Western civilization was attacked with the fruits of its own ingenuity, making clear that terrorists had no need for WMD. Why go to all the trouble of making bombs when all you have to do is hijack an airplane? In Spain, al-Qaida dealt Western society an even more horrifying blow: Not only the technological, but also the democratic infrastructure of Western society could be turned against it.
The election in Russia was a different sort of tragedy. Democracy is a formal procedure whereby the candidate supported by the majority gets elected. But democracy also requires the separation of powers. In Russia no such separation exists any longer. The president has the executive, legislative and judicial branches under his thumb, as well as the fourth estate (or television, to be more precise).
Three cheers for Latynina and the opposition press corps. As long as she and others are able to say such things with impunity, Russia has not fully reverted to its old Soviet ways.