普京的柔性专制

最近在莫斯科有这样一个广为流传的笑话:在上次总统大选两个月以后美国人还不知道他们的总统是谁,而我们俄罗斯人在最近大选举行的前两年就已经知道谁会入主克里姆林宫。

俄罗斯的政治阶层有足够的理由为他们所创造的这种体系感到骄傲,这其中不乏狡黠和嘲讽。这一体系能保证他们所需要的结果。尽管缺少波折、诡计和竞争,选举还是重要的。这倒不是因为俄罗斯的政治阶层宣扬了真正民主选举步骤的所有关键因素,而是因为它为俄罗斯的自由民主试验画上了句号,并使普京的新俄罗斯政治体制合法化。

新体制有什么特点?它是诸如"管理下的"民主、"狭隘的"民主或"选举的"民主这样一类带形容词的民主吗?只有少数批评家顽固坚持这样的说法。抑或这一体系是一种默许的专制?这种观点在美国和欧洲已成为广泛的共识。

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