Final Word from Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Everybody has an idea of what Russian democracy is like, but seeing is believing.Click here to watch (at the 11:45 mark) how Vladimir Putin announced the results ofthe vote to confirm Dmitri Medvedev as United Russia's election leader (a rudimentaryknowledge of Russian is required). After stating that 582 delegates voted Yes in thesilent vote, to just one against, Putin asked for a show of hands to confirm the outcome.When no one raised his hand No, Putin asked where the naysayer was. "Whereis that person? Where is the dissident?" he asked with his best KGB smile. "Well, itwould be of no use to come forward anyway," he concluded. For the Czech criminalelite, this is a much more attractive form of democratic deficit than the kind the EUoffers. When real crisis hits Europe, some of these elite will be willing to give up a bitof their own sovereignty to learn from Putin the secret of maintaining control.

Glossary of difficult words

seeing is believing - it is hard to believe (the full magnitude of) something until you have seen it;

rudimentary - elementary, simple;

show of hands - the raising of hands among a group of people to indicate a vote for or against something, with numbers typically being estimated rather than counted;

naysayer - a person who denies or opposes something.

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