It has come to my attention that Boris Yeltsin, the former and first President of post-Soviet Russia died today.
Which is somehow fitting on a metaphorical level, since Russian democracy is dying as we speak and current
You see Putin is under what I call the 'Curse of Russian Rulers.' It goes back to the age of the Tsars, dominated the Soviet communist era, and is making a comeback in the Age of Putin.
I can summarize it this way: Russian rulers will always do anything to make themselves feel more powerful, even if it kills them.
You see whoever leads Russia inherits an inferiority complex as big as the nation itself. The land is vast and rich in resources, but it has always been backward, poor, and terribly managed. Yet Western Europe, and some of Russia's Eastern European neighbors are smaller, less endowed in the resource department, but always had stronger economies, better standards of living and more advanced industries and technology.
Now the rulers of Russia could always initiate much needed reforms to the way things are done there, and many have tried, to a small extent, but none were willing to go all the way to fully 'westernize' their nation.
Because a modern western state with the high standard of living, the advanced technology and the powerful economy is only truly possible as a functional democracy. To have functional democracy the Russian Ruler has to give up some of their power, and none want to.
So they try to force their country to advance at the point of the bayonet. That creates economic and social chaos and the potential for revolution.
To keep that possibility down Russian Rulers have to make themselves look and feel more powerful than they really are.
They isolate themselves from their more advanced neighbors, bully the weaker ones into submission, and do business with any and every anti-western power, even if they're on the hit list too.
It doesn't work, it only breeds corruption, despair, and violence. But it's the only way they know that doesn't involve divesting power, so they keep doing it, until the revolution does come, tossing out the old rulers, and bringing in new ones, to make the mistakes of the past all over again.
They refuse to accept that the western democratic way, with the rule of law and freedom is the only way.
Yeltsin may have been a drunk at the head of a government wracked with corruption, cronyism, and incompetence, but at least he at least appeared to recognize that Russia's future lay in the western way of the future, and not the past.
Oh well, at least the family will save money because they won't have to embalm him.