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It’s laughable, it’s inverted and it’s thoroughly Soviet. Communist
and nationalist deputies in the Russian State Duma apparently want to
preserve American democracy. Deeply concerned about fraud in America’s
upcoming presidential vote, nine lawmakers from Russia’s lower house
have put forward a resolution to guarantee a fair election in the United
States.

First, they want to send a Russian team to monitor America’s Nov. 7
elections. Second, they want to fund a special foundation that will
defend U.S. democracy. Last, they want to set up a “Voice of Russia”
radio station that will “provide for an alternative” to America’s
one-sided media.

Does this mean (if the measure is passed) the Russians will be
broadcasting pro-American, conservative propaganda to balance the subtle
anti-American and liberal bias that pervades the U.S. media?

Not exactly.

The Duma proposal comes from Russian communists — the one’s who are
open about their beliefs. Since this sort of honesty is not officially
approved, the measure is unlikely to pass. But deep down, it may speak
for a larger percentage of Russia’s ruling class than anyone in the West
dares suspect.

For a ruling elite brought up with socialist ideas — like the ruling
elite in Russia — the liberals and conservatives of America all
represent the party of capitalism. According to Russian socialist
thinking, democracy under the capitalist system is a sham and always was
a sham, beginning with George Washington. For the Russian elite,
peopled with former Soviet
functionaries, the idea of private property and political freedom are
opposites. To their way of thinking, if you have private ownership of
the means of production, liberty is not really possible. Therefore,
Russia’s State Duma — which is controlled by secret totalitarian
structures built during Soviet times — generally cannot imagine a truly
pluralistic system,
where the interplay of competing economic and political forces makes
dictatorship impractical.

According to Marxist theory and Russian practice, all political
systems involve the oppression of one class by another. For example, a
Russian Marxist would say that the U.S. is ruled by something called
“the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” Those who own businesses (the
bourgeoisie) determine all political outcomes through money and corrupt
backroom dealings. The Soviet Union system sought to combat the
bourgeoisie with something called “the dictatorship of the
proletariat.” Under this system, the working
class would oppress the bourgeoisie through state terror, secret police
methods, deception and brute force.

You will notice the Machiavellian cynicism involved in a formulation
that only imagines dictatorship — on both sides of the political
equation. It is no wonder that Marxists have produced only police
states in practice.

From this we see that Russian communists cannot even imagine genuine
democracy — in Russia or America. To their way of thinking, any close
examination will show every democracy to be a hidden form of
dictatorship.

Twelve years ago I met a young Czech citizen recently arrived in
America. Curious about his experiences, I asked how he compared the
Czech communist system with the United States. His words were
unforgettable. He said, “It’s exactly the same as in Czechoslovakia,
only in America the secret police are so good you don’t ever see them
watching you.”

It would have been rude to correct this new arrival, to disappoint
him with the fact that the FBI was not following him — that the FBI
does not monitor the loyalty of American citizens or the every movement
of East European immigrants. But this fact was something outside his
imagination — something impossibly absurd, and obviously (to him)
untrue.

The tendency to dictatorship in Russia runs deep. The cynicism of
the country is one of many factors that makes dictatorship inescapable.
The absence of effective private property is another. The state holds
the lion’s share of the cards in Russia, and smart people know it. The
country is all about power — not money. It is all about connections
and favors, and the
virtual monopoly on power of state officials.

Consider what has already begun to happen with President Vladimir
Putin. We now know that Putin was elected last March by fraud. Ballots
were burnt, voters were bullied, and a million votes were simply
concocted out of thin air. The recent parliamentary elections in former
Soviet Belarus were also a sham.

But Putin’s legitimacy is not only unquestioned by the Russian
mainstream, it is growing into a virtual cult of personality. A recent
Russian grade school booklet refers to Putin’s childhood in the
following terms: “All the boys and girls knew that little Vladimir was a
true friend, someone you could count on. When he grew up he helped good
people and really disliked bad people. Nobody knew he would be
president. But he studied a lot and worked hard.”

The Russian legislators who want to monitor the U.S. presidential
contest on Nov. 7 are deeply concerned with the speck in America’s eye
when there is a log in their own. “Why do Americans always teach
everyone democracy?” asked Georgy Tikhonov, an author of the resolution
to monitor U.S. elections. “Why don’t we go and see what kind of
democracy they have?”

The funny thing is, America isn’t a democracy at all. According to
Friday’s Washington Post, in an article by Cathy Newman entitled
“Keeping an eye on the votes that count,” we are reminded that the next
U.S. president will not be elected by the people. He will be put into
office by the Electoral College.

Newman’s article quotes the director of legal affairs and policy at
the Office of the Federal Register, Michael L. White, who is also
responsible for overseeing the Electoral College. White supposedly told
Newman, “There’s no constitutional role for the popular vote at all.”

America’s democratic tradition is not constitutional; it is
cultural. And Russians cannot magically change themselves into
Americans, any more than we can change into Russians.

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