Many of us have watched warily as Vladimir Putin has edged closer to turning Russia into an authoritarian state again. I’m supportive of the current protests against him, but I’m concerned about the strength communists are gaining in the country.
Everywhere you look in the pictures and video from the Russian protests lately, you see the red flag of the communist Soviet Union. It’s a reminder that things could easily get worse there.
I’ve been told by friends in Russia that many Russians are supporting the communists simply because they see them as a realistic alternative to Putin’s United Russia party. There are western-style liberal political groups, but they’re apparently not the rising political bloc as was once hoped. (Remember that “liberal” here means “pro-liberty.” It has nothing to do with what the word means in U.S. politics.)
I only have one point here. If you put your faith into a majoritarian political system, you’re playing Russian roulette, which seems like an appropriate metaphor in this context. You can only be free if other people agree you should be free. If most of them want a strongman such as Putin — or a return of the communists — you’re stuck with that, too.
The real issue isn’t changing politicians or parties. The real issue is changing an immoral system that claims the right to make your decisions. That’s just as true in America as it is in Russia.