‘I’m a pure and absolute democrat. It’s a tragedy that I’m the only one’ News World Europe TimesOnline: "“Of course, I am a pure and absolute democrat,” he said. “But you know what the problem is – not a problem, a real tragedy – that I am alone. There are no such pure democrats in the world. Since Mahatma Gandhi, there has been no one.”"
I was going to say that President Putin has more in common with Dobby the House Elf than Mahatma Ghandi, but Dobby had good intentions and Vladimir Putin does not.
Russia is not obliged to be a Jeffersonian democracy. There's no single perfect system of government that all countries must adopt. But Russia's government, in whatever form it takes, must be responsive to the needs of the people and take care that the people possess the means to assert those needs.
I would think that freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and some form of an elected government would be the standard for any first world country.
Vladimir Putin disagrees.
Vladimir Putin is the guy who closed an opposition newspaper. [here]
Vladimir Putin is the guy who closed the last independent television station in Russia. [here]
Vladimir Putin is the guy who had an opposition leader arrested before a political rally. [here]
Vladimir Putin is the guy who banned direct election of governors as a "counter-terrorism" measure. [here]