Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RUSSIA; Sliding Backward

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RUSSIA; Sliding Backward

Article excerpt

Perhaps one of the most dramatic moments of recent history came in 1991, when Boris Yeltsin climbed on a tank and delivered an impassioned speech against a hard-line coup that had overthrown Mikhail Gorbachev. It set off a chain of events that overthrew communism, ended the Cold War and established democracy in Russia.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there.

Freedom House, a think tank that tracks political liberties, downgraded Russia in its 2004 rankings, released Monday, from "partly free" to "not free." It cited flawed parliamentary and presidential elections, plus state control of the media and limits imposed on political parties during the past year.

There are other problems, in our view, particularly the decision to end direct election of regional governors.

Even more problematic is a report in various news media that Russia's top prosecutor proposed taking the relatives of terrorists hostage and seizing their property. …

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